Revised Junior Cycle Social, Personal, and Health Education (SPHE) Programme

September 20, 2023

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Aware of the important life skills and learning that SPHE provides as part of a holistic education for young people, our school supports the implementation of the updated Junior Cycle Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum.

Stanhope Secondary School is satisfied that the redevelopment of the SPHE curriculum has been informed by extensive research, by work with schools and education partners, and has been the focus of far-reaching public consultation, including an extensive consultation on the draft curriculum. For further detail please see the Report on the consultation on the draft Junior Cycle SP… (

Deliberations by the members of NCCA Council, its Boards and SPHE Development Groups provided a further important source of expertise and advice. In carrying out their deliberations, the members of these representative structures have drawn on both national and international research, consultation findings and relevant government policy commitments.

Furthermore, in developing the curriculum, significant attention has been paid to ensuring that learning is age-appropriate.

Decisions about what to include in the curriculum are evidence-based and informed by international best practice, as well as extensive consultations with parents/guardians, teachers and children/young people themselves.

With regard to questions or concerns that have arisen about the teaching of specific topics such as pornography, sexual orientation and gender identity, the NCCA has provided helpful clarification on the intended learning – available at this link and entitled ‘Additional guidance for teachers on specific learning outcomes’. Resources for teaching and learning in SPHE (

Schools have obligations regarding SPHE under Department of Education Circular 0028/2023, which states: ‘The SPHE short course is 100 hours spread across first, second and third year (and must be provided in each of the three years). Students must follow the newly developed NCCA short course specification’.

In the context of the school’s responsibilities under Child Protection Procedures (Section 8.4.1.) the teaching of Junior Cycle SPHE is a mandatory part of the curriculum for all students at junior cycle and must be fully implemented in all post-primary schools.

To view the Junior Cycle updated SPHE curriculum, please visit:

Kind regards,

Mr. J. O’Brien