WHY IS PSHE IMPORTANT?
‘The evidence shows that PSHE education can improve the physical and psychosocial wellbeing of pupils. A virtuous cycle can be achieved, whereby pupils with better health and well-being achieve better academically’.
PSHE Education: A Review of Impact and Effective Practice, DfE, 2015
Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education is a school subject through which pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage their lives, now and in the future. These skills and attributes help pupils to stay healthy, safe and prepare them for life and work in modern Britain. When taught well, PSHE education helps pupils to achieve their academic potential, and leave school equipped with skills they will utilise throughout later life.
WHAT IS PSHE?
Under the core themes of ‘Health and Wellbeing’, ‘Relationships’ and ‘Living in the Wider World’, PSHE helps pupils to manage many of the most critical opportunities, challenges and responsibilities they will face growing up. PSHE helps children and young people to achieve their potential by supporting their wellbeing and tackling issues that can affect their ability to learn, such as anxiety and unhealthy relationships. PSHE also helps pupils to develop skills and aptitudes - like teamwork, communication, and resilience - that are crucial to navigating the challenges and opportunities of the modern world, and are increasingly valued by employers. Few other subjects offer students the opportunity to consider and debate aspects of life which are crucial, not only to inform their views on world events and major social issues, but also by forming their own sense of responsibility within the community.
As a Church of England High School, it is our firm belief that all young people should be able to think about and discuss events in the world around them whilst sharing in the diversity of our community and ultimately the community of God. Our ‘Living Education’ programme gives young people the opportunity to understand the importance of tolerance and understand why people hold different beliefs, in order to foster positive social interaction. This involves groups working in a climate of trust and mutual respect which is established early on through the creation of a class agreement which is referred to throughout the year. Teaching aims to consistently challenge prejudices and the work handles sensitive, controversial and topical issues ensuring all pupils’ opinions are valued, heard and even challenged in a safe and supportive environment.
The value of Living Education (PSHE) is brought home when we reflect on the daily implications that relationships, health education and mental health, politics, human rights, democracy, online safety, and personal identity have on the world around us. The subject is so broad and complex that it offers a wide range of opportunities for young people to develop and utilise transferable life skills such as reasoning, empathy, listening, evaluating risk, tolerance and an understanding of their own wellbeing. For this reason it is taught very much from the perspective of the pupil’s own experience, both in their locality, their nation and further afield into the wider global community. Teaching is enhanced by the use of a wide variety of teaching styles, designed to engage interest, broaden participation and model shared responsibility through an understanding of the communities in which we live. Films, case studies and debates have been found to be highly effective tools, both for explaining complex issues and to allow pupils to develop the empathy which is so vital in developing tolerance and understanding. British Values are taught and reflected upon through study of the democracy and diversity which makes both Chorley and the UK such multi-cultural and rich communities. As well as the acquisition of factual knowledge, pupils develop the critical awareness to evaluate and understand the legal, political, religious, social and economic systems that influence all our lives.
- Units of study covering the three core themes of ‘Health and Wellbeing’, ‘Relationships’ and ‘Living in the Wider World’ are taught to all pupils in Years 7-11 during tutorial periods which last 25 minutes, twice a week, reflecting our belief that a pupil’s tutor is the member of staff best placed to cover this important work with pupils who know them best.
- As well as the statutory elements of RSHE (Relationships, Sex and Health Education), pupils study units of work based around Transition, Citizenship and Careers.
- Elements of the curriculum are also taught through Enrichment Days.
- There are also planned opportunities for pupils to contribute to develop their role as Citizens through our School Council, Charities committee and Worship Committee as well as extra-curricular activities, such as the national Make Your Mark consultation and one-off events such as election debates and hustings. Each tutorial votes for their School Council Representative at least annually.
Whilst formal assessment is not appropriate for PSHE, the material used in Living Education lessons is very interactive and pupils’ understanding and progress are monitored by staff through the use of AFL strategies. Tutors act as faciliators and pupils are given many opportunities to work in small and larger groups as well as give presentations and take part in debates.
Many units in Living Education contain a baseline activity (for example a questionnaire or mindmap) which is then revisited at the end of the sequence of lessons so that pupils can assess their own progress. Samples are then monitored by tutors and the Curriculum Leader. Self-reflection activities such as ‘write and draw’, ‘agony aunt’, ‘explain to an alien’ and likert scales help to monitor progress and develop autonomy.
Letters are sent home annually to inform parents when RSE and Drugs Education is taking place with their child, and the full scheme of work can be located on the school website.
Living Education Schemes of Work