Introduction to the GHLL Primary R(S)HE Resource
Children’s mental health and wellbeing have never been more important so the introduction of a statutory Relationships and Health Education framework in our primary schools has been welcomed by primary practitioners. The document provides a set of end of primary stage statements; understanding, skills, attitudes, strategies, values and knowledge the children need by the end of Year 6 to prepare them for their transition to secondary school and to, ultimately, support them to stay safe and healthy, nurture positive healthy relationships and be prepared for adult life and work.
How to use this Resource
The statutory guidance provides end of primary statements for R(S)HE; it is imperative that schools do not see these as one objective to be delivered in a session or a short series of lessons, but instead as a final objective achieved through a whole school, progressive relationships and health education curriculum. This should be a spiral curriculum, bespoke to each setting, drawn up in full consultation with parents, staff, governors and pupils. At GHLL, we have developed this resource to assist schools in this process.
The GHLL team work closely with schools across the county and are aware that many schools already deliver a wide and comprehensive PSHE curriculum covering most, if not all, of the statements of the new statutory curriculum. The nature of the schools in Gloucestershire is diverse in terms of cohorts, sizes, settings and facilities. Therefore, the schemes of work developed in schools will be tailored to each individual setting based on the needs of the pupils and any local data (as well as the end of primary objectives) to ensure enough time is being spent on the particular areas of need and relevance for each school’s pupils.
Most schools will not need to start from scratch but instead build on their existing provision. However, schools have been asking for more support with teaching the elements which were missing from, or not as explicit in, their current PSHE curriculum such as Relationships, Mental Health and First Aid. Therefore, this GHLL resource is particularly focussed on the Relationships element of the new document, as well as the Changing Adolescent Body statements from the Health document. The new lessons will mainly address healthy relationships and positive mental health, with links to sites and resources for schools to develop their curriculum provision in other strands, such as healthy eating, internet safety, sun safety, etc. So as a result, this document is not a scheme of work covering all the R(S)HE end of primary statements. It is, instead, a bank of resources to enable schools to map their current provision to the statements whilst also providing some lessons to help plug any gaps identified.
With ‘End of Primary Stage’ statements, it is down to individual schools to identify age and stage appropriate objectives for their pupils. To support schools in this task, GHLL has provided overview grids of the Relationships and Health statements; schools can use these overviews to map and gap their existing provision. Sectioned into EYFS, KS1 and upper and lower KS2, the grids have been populated with lessons/activities/resources (with accompanying objectives) to enable schools to begin to build a programme of lessons to meet the end of primary statements. Schools, however, will continue to populate the overviews, adding to these lessons, moving them, or deleting and replacing them according to the needs of their pupils and in consultation with the school’s community, thus building a bespoke R(S)HE curriculum for their setting. (Please note, whilst Financial Education and Citizenship are not part of the statutory guidance and so not mapped on this resource, it remains best practice for schools to be covering these areas as part of their wider PSHE curriculum.)
The various colours of the lesson titles, resources and links on the grids correlate with their source:
- light blue are GHLL lessons and resources
- dark blue provides signposting via a GHLL lesson plan document
- red lessons are SEAL
- purple lessons are PSHE Association
- green are other, freely available resources
GHLL continue to advocate that timetabled R(S)HE lessons should always be the main model of delivery; drop down days, trips and external visitors can enrich R(S)HE provision but are not a substitute for regular lessons. Likewise, some parts of the statutory curriculum may be being covered in other subject areas but, in order to teach it most effectively, it should be taught discretely; the R(S)HE coverage through other subjects can then enhance the learning.
At primary level, there is no statutory requirement to deliver sex education. However, specialist practitioners and bodies such as the DfE and PSHE Association deem it to be good practice to do so. In KS2 National Curriculum Science, children learn about the life cycles of humans and animals, including the changes which happen from birth to old age; puberty is one of these changes. In addition, the health objectives of the new document require children to learn about body changes in puberty including menstruation. These lessons are an obvious learning opportunity for sex education (how a baby is conceived and born) and many schools, through consultation with parents, have opted to include this in their curriculum. This sex education, however, does need to be clearly defined in any school’s curriculum as it is the part from which parents do have the right to withdraw their child.
The GHLL resources will contain lessons that cover non-statutory sex education objectives, so we refer to our Relationships Education as Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). Along with the Health Education, the whole document is Relationships, (Sex) and Health Education R(S)HE. However, after consultation with pupils, staff and parents, schools may choose to call their curriculum Relationships and Health Education (RHE).
Where to start
Begin by looking at the school’s current provision, starting with a full subject review; this will enable senior leadership and subject leaders to identify what the first steps will be.
- What does PSHE look like in our school?
- How is it led?
- How is it delivered?
- Who delivers it?
- Is the curriculum progressive and spiral?
- Does the curriculum cover the statutory requirements?
- What resources are used?
- Are staff regularly updated on current practice and changes, etc?
There are audit tools available to help with this from the Sex Education Forum and The PSHE Association. Schools will then need to audit their curriculum and identify any gaps against the new framework, by completing an audit; developing a scheme of work bespoke for the school based on pupil and parent voice, local data and statutory objectives; and ensuring knowledge, skills and understanding are built upon year on year. Thus, schools will gain a clear idea of the lessons they will want to deliver.
The Whole School Approach
When writing a bespoke R(S)HE policy and curriculum, a whole school approach is essential in ensuring the whole school community understands the value of putting the emotional and mental health of pupils, staff and the wider school community at the heart of the decision-making process, making it a foundation stone of the school’s ethos and environment. This, in turn, is identified as being a protective factor for child and adolescent mental health, whilst also recognising that, in order to help their pupils succeed, schools have a role to play in supporting them to be resilient and mentally healthy. Having leadership and management teams within schools giving this the highest priority is at the core of the whole school approach.
R(S)HE beyond discrete lessons
Good PSHE practice is responsive to the needs of the pupils. Therefore, there are times when a need arises for a spontaneous session, often in the form of a Circle Time, where the children have a safe space to unpick and explore a concern, worry, incident, misconception, etc. which has come to the fore.
Inviting external visitors into school can be a great way to compliment and enrich your R(S)HE curriculum. For example, local Schoolbeat Officers will come into school and deliver whole school assemblies and class sessions, the NSPCC will deliver assemblies and workshops, etc. However, it is also important to remember that R(S)HE needs to be taught regularly, through a spiral curriculum, to ensure progression throughout the key stages.
R(S)HE ground rules
Due to the nature of R(S)HE, many children will often share their private thoughts, feelings and experiences during these lessons. It is important that all children are aware of the need to respect other people during discussions. Therefore, it is good practice to share your class/school’s R(S)HE Ground Rules at the beginning of each lesson. This sets out clear expectations of behaviour from the start and can help to build trust among your students.
In R(S)HE lessons, the subject matter can sometimes be of a sensitive nature and could raise certain feelings and emotions for pupils for different reasons. Therefore, when planning and delivering an R(S)HE lesson, pupils’ home lives and past experiences should be considered carefully. For example, staff should be mindful of any recent family separations and bereavements when talking about loving and respectful relationships within families or, when teaching about adoption, ensure they are aware of any child who may have had personal experience of this. Such examples highlight the importance of R(S)HE being taught regularly by the class teacher, who knows their pupils and their lives. The children need to feel happy and safe when sensitive and personal topics are being explored. Consider also teaching certain units when an extra support adult is on hand, to ensure any pupil can be individually supported if necessary or could safely leave a lesson if they needed to.
It is not unusual for a child to make a disclosure that may be a safeguarding concern during an R(S)HE session. Therefore, it is vital to ensure all members of staff are clear about the school’s safeguarding procedure.
Assessment is often overlooked in PSHE; to accurately assess a child’s learning in terms of their self-confidence, values, strategies, etc. can, at first, seem challenging but assessment is just as vital for effective teaching and learning in PSHE education as in all other subjects. Often the child themselves will be able to make judgements about how they feel, so personal reflection is a vital element of PSHE education assessment. Along with teacher and peer assessment, this purposeful assessment must take place to ensure teachers meet the needs of their pupils, demonstrate progress and identify next steps.
Because of the unique nature of PSHE education, the knowledge, skills, understanding, beliefs, strategies and attitudes children have are not dependent on age but on their life experiences. Hence the DfE statements, and GHLL’s lessons and recommended resources, are not year group specific; teachers will deliver them at the appropriate stage for their children. To assess each learner and their subsequent progress effectively, a baseline assessment needs to be carried out before a unit of work (or a lesson) is delivered, to establish their knowledge, attitudes, etc before any new teaching begins.
The PSHE Association, in A Guide to Assessment in Primary PSHE Education, give examples of activities for baseline assessments. They include mind mapping, questioning, responding to scenarios/pictures/video clips, quiz, continuum, graffiti wall, storyboard and diamond nine. Assessment of learning can also be evidenced in more creative ways, such as through art or recording children in action in film and photographs. Remembering facts is useful but applying learning demonstrates a deeper level of understanding.
With the lessons provided in this resource (both GHLL’s and the signposted documents) schools will be able to create a bespoke R(S)HE curriculum for their setting without buying into a scheme - this is what the DfE deems to be best practice for schools when developing their provision.
The PSHE Association: We recommend schools become members of the PSHE Association. The cost is minimal in comparison to that of purchasing a scheme and, along with providing a wealth of lesson plans and resources which are constantly updated and developed, it also enables practitioners to stay abreast of current news and changes pertaining to PSHE, as well as offering CPD for staff. Therefore, the PSHE Association lessons are the only resource in this document for which there is a cost to access.
Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL): Many SEAL lessons and activities meet the objectives of the new statutory framework. Where links are explicit, we have included the lessons in our overview. GHLL has funded all Gloucestershire’s schools to have full access to the SEAL Community website where they can download member resources, receive the regular newsletter, join SEAL interest groups and post on the forums. As well as SEAL lessons, there is also a wealth of additional resources for each SEAL theme, such as assemblies, PowerPoint presentations, posters, links to DVD clips, training presentations and research reports.
Healthy Eating and Physical Wellbeing: Most schools currently cover these objectives in their science, PE and PSHE curricula. In our county, Active Gloucestershire works with children and young people, both in and out of school, to increase physical activity. Rather than populate the overviews for these areas, we have included links to resources and sites to support schools’ as they record their current practice on the grid, mapping and gapping their provision against the end of primary stage statements.
Online Relationships, and Online Safety and Harm: This is a significant part of the new R(S)HE curriculum and perhaps the fastest changing element of it although, ultimately, the key learning around staying safe online and building healthy relationships online will remain constant. There are many good resources available, free of charge, to schools; again, we have included a page of links to resources and sites to support schools’ delivery of this area within our resource. Most schools provide excellent coverage in their curriculum regarding staying safe online, but many of our young people will be navigating relationships online and need to be taught the skills to do this in a healthy and safe way, so explicit lessons do need to be incorporated into the R(S)HE curriculum. For example, when teaching about friendships, the unit of work should also address online friendships and cyber bullying.
First Aid: This is a new addition to the primary curriculum. Within the resource, we have provided a progression of first aid activities, Year 1 to Year 6, to ensure the end of primary statements for first aid are met. We have used the British Red Cross Power of Kindness programme, but there are other resources and sites available.
Drug Education: Many Gloucestershire schools currently follow the GHLL drug education curriculum. The PSHE Association has recently launched a primary suite of lessons, some of which we have integrated into our resource. As with other areas of R(S)HE, schools should develop their lessons to best fit their settings.
A range of support is provided by expert Lead Teachers, most of whom are PSHE teachers, seconded from their schools one day a week. All educational settings within Gloucestershire, including independent schools, have an assigned GHLL Lead Teacher who can work closely with the school in all areas of Health and Wellbeing, and be part of the Healthy School Award process. In addition, fully funded training is provided on a variety of areas of the PSHE curriculum and a termly bulletin is shared with all settings, to enable staff to keep updated and to signpost them to support and offers.
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