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A complete RSHE curriculum for International Schools

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Welcoming students from over 49 different countries, Bangkok Prep is a well-established international school in Thailand. The school follows the Early Years Foundation Stage and English National Curriculum and uses Discovery Education Health and Relationships to support teaching of RSHE. Subject Leader of PSHE, Brona Soden, explains how the programme helps teachers to engage students, communicate with parents and deliver the new RSHE curriculum with confidence.

GETTING STARTED WITH RSHE

We started using Discovery Education Health and Relationships in 2020. As PSHE Subject Leader at Bangkok Prep, I was looking for a high quality digital resource which would help us to deliver the new English RSHE curriculum. I wanted something flexible that would support staff with different levels of experience. After trialling Health and Relationships we all agreed that it was a great place to start. As a school, we were very impressed.

IDEAL FOR INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS

Teaching at an International school that caters for many different cultures and belief systems, and where society is quite conservative, we needed to approach the new RSHE curriculum carefully. We felt very confident that Health and Relationships would allow us to do this. To begin with, we tested the programme across the school, leaving some of the more sensitive areas until later in the year. This gave us time to prepare parents and allow them to ask any questions.

COMMUNICATING WITH PARENTS

Effective RSHE is best delivered in partnership with parents and Health and Relationships, it includes some great resources to help schools achieve this. We used these to organise an online workshop, where we walked parents through the new curriculum. Teachers in each year group gave a sample lesson using the videos and activities from the programme. We were able to show parents exactly what an RSHE lesson would look like and the response was excellent.

IN PERSON AND ONLINE

We began teaching Health and Relationships during a period of lockdown and found that the digital resources are ideal for remote learning. While it wasn’t ideal to start teaching RSHE online, there were some benefits to doing so. Teachers who were feeling anxious or self-conscious were able to build their confidence. We found that the children could learn without distraction. From day one they were engrossed, interested and asking lots of questions using the private chat box. There was less embarrassment and a real sense of achievement for teachers, who felt it worked really well.

A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

As an English Curriculum school, we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage and National Curriculum as closely as possible, while being mindful that there are some intercultural and interfaith areas where we need to take a more sensitive approach. Health and Relationships allows us to teach to our own environment, because it’s such a flexible resource. The age of consent, for example, is different here in Thailand. So when we are teaching about committed relationships, we are conscious to point out that the law differs around the world. This in itself is a whole discussion topic. We asked the children, “Why do you think some countries decide that this is a better age to make these choices?” We try to turn everything into a discussion and Health and Relationships is a great prompt. Plus, it gives the children a global perspective.

VIDEO-LED CONTENT

Health and Relationships includes lots of great age-appropriate videos which can be used to introduce the different RSHE topics. Our teachers like the fact that these are age-appropriate and being peer-led, they are very engaging for the children. Each video comes with lesson plans and linked activities. But even on their own, the videos open up a world of conversation in the classroom. Sometimes we use the films as a starting point and let the children guide how the lesson progresses. As teachers, we all want to encourage our students to look at life through different lenses and the videos are very powerful tools for doing this.

FAMILIES AND RELATIONSHIPS

Recently I was teaching my Year 3 class about families and committed relationships. I started by letting the children share their ideas before watching the topic video. This prompted a lively discussion. The children were asking so many questions that the chat ran away with us! We were able to re-focus with one of the worksheets – a fun True or False activity – which our students really enjoyed. The whole lesson linked nicely with the characteristics of positive relationships, and our school’s life values, which are themes that are intertwined and reflected with the teaching and learning we do at Bangkok Prep.

SPIRAL CURRICULUM

One of the best things about Health and Relationships is the flexibility of the programme. The videos can be used interchangeably and the spiral curriculum approach means that it’s easy to revisit topics. Recently I used a Year 1 video about naming body parts with my Year 3 class to help students revisit key vocabulary. Similarly, our Year 6 students who missed some topics during lockdown, have benefitted from being able to go back and engage with Year 4 and 5 content.

A FLEXIBLE RESOURCE

It’s never been more important for schools to deliver high quality RSHE. We allocate 50 mins of timetabled lessons each week, but in reality we’re delivering RSHE every day because it intertwines with everything. As a school, we let our teachers decide how and when to teach it and Health and Relationships supports this. It’s a very flexible resource.

WELL-PLANNED

As a scheme of work, Health and Relationships is well planned out, which is something our teachers also enjoy. The content is divided into six topic areas which matched our existing RSHE plan. Our teachers immediately felt comfortable because they could see how the content linked to what they were already doing. Having a clear plan to follow made it easy for them to get started.

BUILDING TEACHER CONFIDENCE

Delivering a new curriculum can be daunting but Health and Relationships has helped our teachers to build confidence quickly. They like the fact that it’s a flexible resource. They can let each lesson flow, allowing students to direct the learning. If you’re a little unsure about teaching RSHE, you can follow the programme step by step. If you’re more comfortable, you can see where it goes and let the children lead a little.

RSHE GAMECHANGER

For us as a school, Health and Relationships is an invaluable resource. It has helped us to understand exactly what we need to deliver and given us the tools to teach with confidence. We have a complete scheme of work with high quality digital resources to fire our students’ imagination. Health and Relationships has changed the game for us in terms of how we deliver RSHE. I’m excited to see where it will take our teaching and learning next.

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