Our Approach

Love for Life has a long-standing reputation for engaging effectively in the specific area of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE).

Outlined below are broad principles and commitments that guide Love for Life’s development and delivery of high-quality, age-appropriate and culturally sensitive RSE:

Promoting Whole-Person Development

RSE is centred on personal development and should embrace the social, cultural, intellectual, physical, moral and spiritual development of pupils. Effective RSE encompasses the ‘whole person’.

High-quality RSE gives pupils the opportunity to critically reflect and evaluate how their attitudes, values and beliefs will shape the choices that they make. Love for Life’s programmes encourage reflection on questions such as ‘Who am I?’, ‘What do I aspire to?’ and ‘How then shall I live?’ Answering these questions is central to developing a strong self-awareness, empathy for those who are different from us, and contributes to the exploration of character – the personal qualities that contribute to our own good and the flourishing of community life.

RSE should be grounded in a vision of healthy relationships. Children and young people need nurturing in their capacity to form strong and positive relationships with others, promoting their emotional health and wellbeing. This includes developing personal attributes and values including integrity, kindness, generosity, trustworthiness, love, compassion, empathy, courage, humility, self- control and a sense of justice. These are the qualities that enable individuals and communities to live well and flourish together, and pupils to build strong relationships of all kinds.

Educating the whole person in RSE provides young people with the opportunity to question the overall meaning and purpose of sexuality in human life, including establishing their norms and ideals around sexual behaviour.

 

Affirming Human Dignity

Love for Life grounds RSE in an understanding of the inestimable value and worth of every child and young person. Self-respect and self-worth are premised on an understanding of inherent human dignity. No person loses their intrinsic value and worth, irrespective of what choices they make. Particular care is taken to be attentive to the individual needs of all pupils, including those with special needs and disabilities.

Each pupil deserves to be treated with the highest level of dignity and respect, and should learn to treat others likewise. In light of this, all forms of bullying should be challenged and eradicated in schools, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

Ideas, attitudes and behaviours that diminish or dehumanise a person should always be challenged. Love for Life supports the role of education in challenging over-sexualised cultural norms, in particular, sexual objectification in the media and in pornography.

 

Engaging with Parents/Carers

RSE is a life long process which begins in the home. Parents or carers have the most significant influence in shaping attitudes, values and beliefs, as well as habits and practices around healthy relationships. They are vital partners in the delivery of school and community-based RSE, and schools and community groups should work closely with them in their planning and delivery, including in the drawing up of policies and practices.

Love for Life is committed to supporting, resourcing and partnering with parents/carers to secure the wellbeing of all children or young people. This includes providing information on programmes, as well as delivering workshops that will enable them to have important and ongoing conversations.

 

Embracing Whole-School Ethos

RSE should be delivered within a strong, coherent framework, where a consistent set of principles and values are promoted and embodied throughout the school.

An RSE policy helps schools to promote their ethos and values and adopt a whole-school approach to the teaching of the subject, which includes nurturing an ethos and culture of inclusivity for all pupils. Key stakeholders, including parents, should be involved in its development, and it should be clearly linked to other relevant policies, including anti-bullying, pastoral care and safeguarding/child protection.

As an external agency that supports schools in their delivery of RSE, Love for Life appreciates the importance of operating within the ethos of a school and adhering to school policies.

 

Respecting Diversity and Inclusion

RSE should be delivered in a culturally sensitive manner. This involves taking account of the cultural and religious background of all pupils and promoting tolerance and mutual hospitality in the expression and exploration of different beliefs and values.

In a pluralistic context, RSE should promote a better understanding of diversity. Effective, high-quality RSE teaching and learning provides young people with the opportunity to examine their own values and beliefs in light of those held by others. In doing so, this can contribute to a more tolerant and inclusive society by fostering respect and understanding of difference and empathy for the views, emotions and feelings of others.

Adolescence is a time of significant and often rapid change – including physical, cognitive and social development. Love for Life is therefore sensitive to the sexual feelings and identity dilemmas young people are experiencing, particularly about sexual orientation and gender, and recognises the additional pastoral support that may be needed.

Love for Life endeavours to create an environment of welcome, safety, inclusion and respect. The knowledge, skills and values presented are important for all young people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender, and equips them to make healthy choices and build strong relationships.

 

Prioritising Delaying Sex

The age of consent, and the other laws around sexual behaviour, should be upheld as protective legal standards, with the intention of ensuring a young person’s safety and wellbeing. When teaching on consent, Love for Life gives pupils the opportunity to reflect on the respect that consent confers on another person, as well as explore the importance of clarifying and communicating sexual boundaries.

Young people need time to develop and mature without the expectation to act on sexual feelings or respond to cultural pressure and expectation to be sexually active. This includes developing a framework of beliefs and values which will enable them to make wise, well-informed, responsible choices around relationships and sexual activity. Love for Life enables young people to understand the reasons why someone might choose to wait, even until marriage, before engaging in a sexual relationship. Where there may be a social expectation to be sexually active, young people need reassurance that resisting such pressure and saying ‘no’ is a valid and possible choice, and that this is still the case even if they have already made the choice to be sexually active.

 

Advancing Holistic Sexual Health and Wellbeing

A delaying-sex inclusive approach incorporates messages around healthy relationships, skills development, comprehensive and age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health information, including information on contraception and STIs. Increasing young people’s awareness of sexual health demonstrates a holistic concern for their overall wellbeing and their current and future sexual health.

Love for Life programmes advance holistic sexual health and wellbeing, including providing age-appropriate, reliable, accurate and up-to-date information on contraception, sensitive to the ethical considerations that are raised. Sexual health is more than just the absence of an unplanned pregnancy or a STI, but is concerned with physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and social wellbeing.

In exploring unplanned pregnancy, pupils should understand not only the relevant legal framework and social context, but recognise that there will be a diversity of beliefs and values within society surrounding controversial issues like abortion. Whatever choice a woman or couple makes in the situation of an unplanned pregnancy, they deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. Love for Life gives pupils the opportunity to consider the different options presented within wider society: keeping the baby, adoption and abortion. Love for Life appreciates the important ethical issues raised and provides an opportunity for pupils to consider these and to reflect on their own attitudes, values and beliefs.

Did you know?

  • 100%

    of primary teachers recommend the programme

    Primary Teachers

    All our programmes are age-appropriate, offering accurate information in an engaging manner

    Book a Programme
  • 85%

    will find it easier to make healthy choices...

    Post-Primary Pupils

    ...in the future even if friends or peers are making different choices

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  • 98%

    of young people learnt something new and useful

    Young People

    in our Community-based programmes

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  • 81%

    thought the programme was helpful

    Post-Primary Pupils

    All our programmes are age-appropriate, offering accurate information in an engaging manner

    Book a Programme
  • 96%

    agree that pupils interact and learn more effectively...

    Post-Primary Teachers

    ...as a result of the Love for Life programme input

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Delivering holistic Relationship & Sexuality Education to young people across Northern Ireland.

  • Very inclusive workshop, very enjoyable with plenty of information.

    — Post-Primary Pupil

  • The presenters were fantastic and had a great ability to make the talks that little bit less awkward.

    — Young Person

  • They always make the workshops interesting and engaging for our students.

    — Post-Primary Teacher

  • The pupils got so much out of this programme and will leave feeling assured that many of the changes that lie ahead for them in the coming years will be ok.

    — Primary Teacher

  • Students find the interaction positive and enjoyable and they receive valuable information about RSE.

    — Post-Primary Teacher

  • It was informative and I liked how they did not shy away from difficult topics.

    — Post-Primary Pupil

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p. 028 3882 0555    e. info@loveforlife.org.uk