PSHE at Alexander First School
At Alexander First School we achieve our school aims: ‘Acquire knowledge, Prepare for the future, Research in action’ through the teaching of PSHE and through teaching children to become independent, responsible citizens who have an awareness of right and wrong. Through an carefully constructed curriculum, the teaching of PSHE and statutory RSE (in line with governmental changes from 2020) equips our pupils to leave Alexander First School with an in-depth understanding of social skills, moral beliefs, sex education, positive relationships and radicalisation.
At Alexander First School we use the ‘1 Decision’ syllabus which contains many units relating to current issues within today’s world and society, while providing full coverage for all areas of PSHE and RSE. Lessons are taught through a variety of teaching and learning styles such as role-play, storytelling and games and these are extremely effective when engaging pupils, making learning purposeful and have had positive feedback from the pupils. In addition to this, elements of PSHE are taught subtly and embedded through every contact made in or out of school, with every child, peer and adult and the positive relationships that we engender at Alexander First School.
The PSHE Subject Lead Team
PSHE is a cornerstone within Alexander First School’s curriculum, developing key life skills for all children throughout their educational journey and beyond. The PSHE subject lead roles is essential to ensure that PSHE is taught well throughout the school, is well resourced, updated regularly in line with national guidance and to ensure that it develops every individual child. PSHE education teaches skills and attributes that help children to stay healthy, safe and ensures that they are prepared for life and work in modern Britain. At Alexander First School, we truly believe that PSHE education helps children to achieve both their academic potential and leave school equipped with skills they will need throughout life and support them to be positive contributors to society.
We ensure that PSHE is interwoven throughout the entire curriculum at AFS and will be touched on in some way discretely, every day in every lesson: whether that be through being a positive role model, developing team work skills or showing respect and care towards others and themselves. PSHE lessons are also taught separately as necessary, but through careful guidance and collaboration, a priority has been that all teachers have woven PSHE lessons in to their topics, ensuring that they are relevant, pertinent learning experiences and tie with the overarching themes of the term. For example, when linking healthy eating to Design and Technology in Year 1, teaching e-safety and safe relationships online with computing in Year 4 or when learning about family dynamics in the Early Years and Foundation Stage, as well as in many other key curriculum areas like Physical Education, Science, English and History. Through this careful planning, teachers are able to make learning links more valid, increasing and developing life-long learning skills and ensuring that children’s well-being is a priority across the curriculum – whether they are developing their own health through kicking and catching balls or learning about empathy when taking on historical character roles or writing about different people and their views in English.
Every interaction at Alexander First School has links with PSHE and RSE and this is a key area that is considered. Adults and children alike are treated with and treat each other with respect.
We ensure that relevant training is undertaken and support offered to staff in their daily work with children and we teach using the Nurture approach, supporting children to develop their understanding of how they learn, what works for them and how to develop numerous problem-solving skills enabling the power of ‘yet’. We teach children that with hard work and determination, they can achieve any goal that they set themselves. We also ensure that enrichment to the curriculum is provided through many themed days or charity events, for example, when raising money for charities such as Help for Heroes or Macmillan. Enrichment also comes through peer play, ‘Sports Leaders’ at lunch times or even the promotion of aspirations through Careers Week across the whole school (Nursery to Year 4).
Changes to Relationship Education that came in to place in 2020 are already factored and woven within our syllabus. We believe strongly that through relationships education, we will be able to further equip children with the knowledge that they need to create and maintain healthy, happy and safe relationships and that they will understand and report abuse, further safeguarding our children. We are excited to be further providing opportunities to enable children to be taught about positive emotional and mental wellbeing and to provide key coping strategies for them to enter the wider, ever-changing world.
We ensure standards of PSHE teaching are high through lesson observations, that learning is pertinent and remembered through discussions with children and feedback is shared with SLT and staff as well as attending PSHE training as necessary.
The National Curriculum states that ‘Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education is an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education. All schools should teach PSHE, drawing on good practice, and this expectation is outlined in the national curriculum.’
Through careful curriculum design and sequencing of learning, coverage is full and detailed. Our PSHE curriculum reflects the needs of ours pupils and equips them with a sound understanding of risk and with the knowledge and skills necessary to make safe and informed decisions. The syllabus is regularly updated in line with worldwide, national or local changes (for example, offering further support with resources on returning to school during the Covid 19 pandemic).
Early Years Foundation Stage
Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
At Alexander First School there are many opportunities within everyday situations in Nursery and Reception that develop children’s PSHE development. These include the children building friendships, sharing experiences, playing games/turn-taking and taking part in regular circle time activities to develop their social skills and listen to others’. Within the EYFS lessons from our 3D syllabus are also taught on a weekly basis to focus on the objectives from the EYFS and have been updated in line with curricular changes from 2021.
The contribution of PSHE to teaching in other curriculum areas
In English, our anchor texts have a heavy emphasis on exploring different perspectives. Pupils often explore the emotions, thoughts and perspective of characters within a text and then respond in relation to their own experiences and feelings. Additionally, pupils undertake a range of writing opportunities such as re-writing chapters as a different character, writing diary entries as a particular character and using hot-seating to question the characters within the texts. These activities in our English lesson consolidate our PSHE learning by allowing us to focus on the feelings of the characters and empathise with them.
Many of the units within the PSHE syllabus make strong links to our Science learning particularly in terms of children’s health; these include the importance of healthy eating and understanding a balanced diet, being aware of the food groups and their importance within the diet. Children also learn about their personal hygiene (including oral care), the spread of germs and diseases and ways to prevent these.
A significant element of PSHE is children being aware of how to look after their bodies and understanding how their bodies are affected by different activities. Through physical education lessons children are not only taught the physical aspect but also begin to learn about what their bodies are doing during the lessons. Children begin to be aware of how their body works whilst exercising, understanding the effects that physical activity has on their body and how these can benefit them. Links between physical and mental health are also discussed to support children’s understanding.
History and Geography
Throughout History and Geography teaching at Alexander First School, children explore a range of different eras and localities and through these units children are shown how life was or could be. Children are encouraged to think about how they would feel in a range of different time periods, contexts are areas and compare to everyday life now and share their own views. Lots of discussions through History and Geography lessons, sharing opinions and taking into consideration other people’s views contributes to the values of PSHE teaching.
Online safety, e-safety and bullying are all pertinent area of both the PSHE and RSE curriculum and computing curriculum. In addition to themed events, specific teaching enables children to feel safe online and understand how they and others can be influenced, raising their awareness of positive and negative relationships, how to stay safe and who to speak to if they are concerned.
Art and Design and Technology
Fundamental life skills are often taught in these curricular areas, in addition to the appreciation of other’s artwork and different skill bases. Through the design process and reflection, children are able to share their opinions, build on positive skills and apply them in a creative manner that allows them to be culture their own diverse skill base.
Lessons and activities are planned to include all children by using a range of approaches. This includes: questioning, use of resources, and mixed ability grouping to enable children to offer peer support. Lessons are planned to facilitate the best possible outcome for all children within the class.
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and British Values (SMSC and BV)
We explore the beliefs and experiences of ourselves and others; discuss the importance of respecting all beliefs and faiths; learn about and discuss our feelings and values and those of others.
We learn about and discuss things that are right and wrong; learn about the law and the importance of it; begin to consider our actions and the consequence of them; consider, discuss and debate ethical issues; offer reasoned views.
We consider all of the groups and communities that we are part of; participate in our local community; learn how to resolve conflict; engage with the British Values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance.
We become aware of cultural influences; learn about the role of Britain’s parliamentary system; understand, accept, respect and celebrate diversity.
Enrichment Activities and Educational Visits
At Alexander First School we have many days throughout the academic year which have a focus on PSHE and RSE. In addition to these, many educational visits incorporate elements of PSHE and develop children within their own local area, community and areas further afield. They are given many varied opportunities to develop their skills in the wider environment and these hands-on life-lessons ensure increasing confidence for all children.
Assessment for learning
Teachers will assess children’s work by making informal judgements during lessons. On completion of a piece of work, the teacher assesses the work and uses this information to plan for future learning. Written or verbal feedback is given to the child to help guide his or her progress and floor books are used to gather pupil voice, understanding and demonstrate progress.
Each unit completed in PSHE will be assessed by the class teacher using a range of evidence collected through the unit, and this may include participation to class discussions, production of work relating to the unit and practical activities that have demonstrated the skills taught.
At the end of a unit, teachers complete informal assessments/spreadsheets that determine whether children are emerging, expected or exceeding within these domains. This is used to provide accurate information to other teachers, the PSHE subject leader and learning support assistants termly and during times of transition.