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Consultation on the Primary Curriculum now open

Consultation on the Primary Curriculum now open

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Expectations for Students/Learning outcomes

Expectations for students

Expectations for students is an umbrella term that links learning outcomes with annotated examples of student work. For NCCA-developed short courses, in some cases examples of work associated with a specific learning outcome or with a group of learning outcomes will be available. Schools who design their own courses may wish to create a bank of examples of student work for discussion and for future reference.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes are statements that describe what knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and values students should be able to demonstrate having completed this junior cycle course in SPHE. The learning outcomes set out in the following tables apply to all students and represent outcomes for students at the end of their period of study.

The outcomes are numbered within each strand. The numbering is intended to support teacher planning in the first instance and does not imply any hierarchy of importance across the outcomes themselves. Nor does it imply that the learning outcomes should be attended to sequentially. When planning for learning and teaching in SPHE, teachers can work with a number of learning outcomes from within one strand or across different strands.

This course builds on a spiral approach that will be familiar to SPHE teachers. This spiral approach allows students to revisit important Themes
Among the themes for Irish are; myself, at home, school, food, television, shopping, pastimes, clothes, the weather and special occasions. The teacher can select lots of topics from the themes. These topics could be extended to also include subjects that the child finds interesting.
over the three years in order to allow for deeper engagement relevant to the students’ evolving needs and stage of development. In revisiting learning outcomes, it is important to ensure that there is a progression of learning. It is also important to consult regularly with students to ascertain how to plan teaching and learning using the learning outcomes so that the learning is responsive to students’ particular needs, questions and concerns. Such consultation will ensure that SPHE is relevant and responsive to the reality of students’ lives in diverse contexts and classrooms.

This SPHE course has been designed for 100 hours of student engagement to be taught over the three years of junior cycle.

A glossary of key terms for SPHE can be found here.

For guidance on planning using these learning outcomes as well as sample resources and methodologies, see the SPHE toolkit at:

The learning outcomes in this course are aligned with the level indicators for Level 3 of the National Framework of Qualifications.

Students learn about Students should be able to
1 how i see myself and others
  1. 1.1

    explore the physical, social and emotional changes that happen during adolescence

  2. 1.2

    reflect on their personal strengths and values and how they bring these into relationships

Students learn about Students should be able to
2 being an adolescent
  1. 1.3

    explore the range of influences and life experiences that can impact on self-image and self-esteem and identify ways to nurture a positive sense of self-worth

  2. 1.4

    recognise the factors and influences that shape young people’s self-identity, such as family, peers, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, race/ethnic background, dis/abilities, religious beliefs/world-views   

Students learn about Students should be able to
3 self-management
  1. 1.5

    reflect on gender equity and how gender stereotypes impact on expectations, behaviour and relationships 

  2. 1.6

    discuss experiences/situations of bias, inequality or exclusion and devise ways to actively create more inclusive environments

  3. 1.7

    communicate in a respectful and effective manner and listen openly and sensitively to the views/feelings of others 

Students learn about Students should be able to
4 my rights and the rights of others
  1. 1.8

    reflect on the meaning and importance of empathy and discuss ways that it can be expressed

  2. 1.9

    demonstrate self-management skills, including setting personal goals, delaying gratification, and self-regulation of thoughts, emotions and impulses.

Students learn about Students should be able to
1 being healthy
  1. 2.1

    evaluate how diet, physical activity, sleep/rest and hygiene contribute to self-confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing

  2. 2.2

    critique the impact of the media, advertising and other influences on one’s decisions about health and wellbeing

  3. 2.3

    describe what promotes a sense of belonging in school, at home and in the wider community and their own role in creating an inclusive environment

  4. 2.4

    distinguish between appropriate care giving and receiving

Students learn about Students should be able to
2 substance use
  1. 2.5

    demonstrate the personal and social skills to address pressure to smoke, to drink alcohol and/or use other substances

  2. 2.6

    reflect on the personal, social and legal consequences of their own or others' drug use

  3. 2.7

    critique information and supports available for young people in relation to substance use

Students learn about Students should be able to
3 respectful communication
  1. 2.8

    use the skills of active listening and responding appropriately in a variety of contexts

  2. 2.9

    use good communication skills to respond to criticism and conflict

Students learn about Students should be able to
4 anti-bullying
  1. 2.10

    describe appropriate responses to incidents of bullying

  2. 2.11

    appraise the roles of participants and bystanders  in incidents of bullying

  3. 2.12

    review the school’s anti-bullying policy and internet safety guidelines explaining the implications for students’ behaviour and personal safety

Students learn about Students should be able to
1 having a friend and being a friend
  1. 3.1

    establish what young people value in different  relationships and how this changes over time

  2. 3.2

    evaluate  attitudes, skills and values that help to make, maintain and end friendships respectfully

  3. 3.3

    recognise their capacity to extend and receive friendship

Students learn about Students should be able to
2 the relationship spectrum
  1. 3.4

    explain the different influences on relationships and levels of intimacy

  2. 3.5

    analyse relationship difficulties experienced by young people

Students learn about Students should be able to
3 sexuality, gender identity and sexual health
  1. 3.6

    describe fertility, conception, pre-natal development and birth, and the particular health considerations for each

  2. 3.7

    explain what it means to take care of their sexual health

  3. 3.8

    demonstrate assertive communication skills in support of responsible, informed decision making about relationships and sexual health that are age and developmentally appropriate

  4. 3.9

    reflect on the personal and social dimensions of sexual orientation and gender identity

Students learn about Students should be able to
4 media influence on relationships and sexuality
  1. 3.10

    critically analyse the use of sexual imagery and gender stereotyping in various forms of media

  2. 3.11

    critique the influence of media on their understanding of sexuality and sexual health

Students learn about Students should be able to
1 positive mental health
  1. 4.1

    explain what it means to have positive mental health

  2. 4.2

    appreciate the importance of talking things over including recognising the links between thoughts, feelings and behaviour

  3. 4.3

    practise some relaxation techniques

Students learn about Students should be able to
2 mental health and mental ill-health
  1. 4.4

    participate in an informed discussion about mental  health issues experienced by young people and/or their friends and family

  2. 4.5

    appreciate what it means to live with mental ill-health

  3. 4.6

    critique mental health services available to young people locally

  4. 4.7

    explain the significance of  substance use for one’s   mental health

Students learn about Students should be able to
3 dealing with tough times
  1. 4.8

    practise  a range of strategies for building resilience

  2. 4.9

    use coping skills for managing life’s challenges

Students learn about Students should be able to
4 loss and bereavement
  1. 4.10

    explain the wide range of life events where they might experience loss and bereavement

  2. 4.11

    outline the personal, social, emotional and physical  responses to loss and bereavement

  3. 4.12

    compare how loss and bereavement are portrayed in a variety of contexts and cultures

  4. 4.13

    describe how they might care for themselves and be supportive of others in times of loss or bereavement

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