Students from the DCU Institute of Education Graduate Diploma
Students from the first class of the Graduate Diploma in SPHE/RSE at the DCU Institute of Education

DCU Institute of Education Graduate Diploma in SPHE/RSE to Increase Offering to a Minimum of 70 Students in 2024

Increase in participants on the Graduate Diploma in SPHE/RSE highlights positive progression for specialist teacher provision in this area.

The Department of Education has announced that it will increase the number of students participating in the Graduate Diploma Social, Personal and Health Education/ Relationships and Sexuality Programme in post-primary schools to a minimum of 70 participants, at the DCU Institute of Education. 

This marks a significant increase in the number of students enrolling in the programme, increasing from 30 students to a minimum of 70, which provides for an additional 40 students per intake. The increase in teachers participating on the programme will commence from January 2024.

The first group of students started on the Graduate Diploma in SPHE/RSE in early February 2023, with teachers participating from across Ireland.

Commenting on the announcement of the increase in provision for the Graduate Diploma in SPHE/RSE, Dr. Catherine Maunsell, Programme Chair and Associate Professor of Psychology and Education at the DCU Institute of Education said; 

“The Graduate Diploma in SPHE/RSE is the first programme of its kind and the DCU Institute of Education is a leading provider of teacher professional learning in Relationships and Sexuality Education in Ireland. Teaching on this programme has been a great joy, as we are developing leaders in the area, marking a significant and progressive change in the Irish education system.

I’d like to encourage teachers eligible across Ireland to enrol on the programme and we look forward to welcoming you on the Graduate Diploma in SPHE/RSE into the future.” 

The aim of the programme is to build capacity and leadership within the teaching profession in relation to SPHE/RSE. The programme will provide substantial theoretical and practical continuing professional development for each participant. The provision of high quality pedagogical content knowledge in the programme will empower teachers to become effective in this subject area. 

This programme is fully funded by the Department of Education (DoE) under an initiative that seeks to address the gap in teacher education in SPHE/RSE. The programme is open to all teachers who are currently teaching SPHE/RSE in post-primary schools recognised by the Department of Education. This reflects the intention to provide pathways for progression for teachers to develop their skills, thus creating leadership in this area. 

This innovative, one-year, part-time NFQ Level 9 post-graduate programme incorporates three areas of professional learning; personal development, skills and knowledge. Alongside the advancement of specialist subject knowledge, a key focus of the programme is teachers’ own personal development and the adaption of a skill set needed for the teaching of SPHE/RSE in the classroom. 

A first in an Irish context, this is the only specialist teacher development programme of its kind at post-primary level offered by the DCU Institute of Education. The Graduate Diploma in SPHE/RSE is underpinned by a rights based and inclusive approach to sexuality education, that followed significant engagement with stakeholders, parents and students alike. 

Following a review on demand for the programme, a further intake may be offered in future. Successful completion of the programme will lead to a National Qualification Framework (NQF) Level 9 of Graduate Diploma in SPHE/RSE. 

For more information, you can the view the circular from the Department of Education

For more information on the programme: Graduate Diploma in SPHE RSE