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A whole school programme for primary RSHE

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Lee Chapel Primary School in Basildon uses Discovery Education Health and Relationships to teach PSHE. Assistant Head Shiv Chetty shares how the programme supports teachers to deliver the new curriculum, while helping pupils to understand their rights and responsibilities.

We’ve been using Discovery Education Health and Relationships since the summer term of 2020. With the new PSHE curriculum about to launch, we wanted a resource with everything in one place. We chose Health and Relationships because it’s a complete solution. We trialled it during lockdown and had fantastic feedback from our teachers and pupils who all loved it.

What we like most about Health and Relationships is the video content. That was the biggest factor for us in choosing this programme. We wanted a scheme of work that was well pitched for children and Health and Relationships is pitch perfect. Each unit includes a video presented by children and young adults. The films are relatable, engaging and easy for pupils to understand.

One of the best things about Health and Relationships is that we don’t have to do any lesson planning. We lift everything straight from the scheme of work. As a teacher this is fantastic. It’s just a quick read through and we’re ready to go. The resources are all there and we can just pick up the programme and use it. Plus, we can track the children’s progress through our marking. It’s all there for us.

Recently in Year 4 we’ve been looking at the UN Convention on Children’s Rights. Health and Relationships has a lovely section on this, with speaking and listening tasks. At the start of our first lesson most of the children didn’t realise that they had rights. They were happy to learn that they have the right to relax and to play but less thrilled about their right to an education! I could see that this topic would prompt a lovely piece of writing, so I extended their learning with some book work. When it comes to PSHE we always try to add more to every lesson. A broad and balanced curriculum is very important to us.

Health and Relationships is divided into 6 topics which cover the new PSHE curriculum. Our topic this term is Caring and Responsibility, which explores pupils’ responsibilities as they get older. There’s a fantastic video about two children and the different jobs they have to do at home, from feeding animals to caring for a younger brother. This led to a discussion where pupils shared what they do outside of school. Some of the children said, ‘I don’t do anything’ while others said, ‘I do lots of things.’ They would look at each other and go ‘Wow!’ Helping pupils to appreciate how other people live their lives is exactly what we should be doing. Health and Relationships helps us to create a forum where it’s safe for them to talk about these things.

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The programme includes some great activities and printable resources. Recently we used a worksheet where the children had to look at different scenarios and recognise children’s rights. One of the scenarios was about religion and respecting other faiths. This is really important to us as a school and Health and Relationships links to our RE teaching very well. At the moment we are learning about Judaism and while none of our students are Jewish they can see the links with other faiths. They understand that regardless of difference, we all have things in common.

Before using Health and Relationships we taught PSHE fortnightly. Now we teach it every week and this has made a real difference. The children get excited about PSHE because they know it involves a lot of talking. They really enjoy chatting about different issues with their peers. We like the fact that Health and Relationships isn’t about independent work. PSHE should be collaborative and about working together.

Supporting mental health is a priority for our school. Children have a lot of worries, especially during the pandemic. That’s why we now teach PSHE at least once a week. We also let class teachers take the lead, so that they can identify any issues that arise. Giving pupils space to talk is the best way to support their mental health. This is one of the reasons why I’m really passionate about PSHE as a subject. The speaking and listening side of things is vital and Health and Relationships helps us to deliver this.

Getting ready to teach any new curriculum can be daunting, but Health and Relationships has helped us to feel fully prepared. Having trialled the programme during the first lockdown, we held a staff CPD day before rolling it out school-wide. One of the big issues for us was managing perceptions. After negative media coverage about the new curriculum we felt that we needed to reassure our staff. Once we explained what would be taught and framed it in the context of being a tolerant and caring school, our teachers were fully on board.

Communicating this message to parents is just as important. As Assistant Headteacher I talk to parents every day, so I already had a sense of their questions. Overall they were very supportive. We wrote to families and had some lovely responses, particularly from our same sex parents. They were happy that we were teaching about different kinds of relationships openly. The world is changing , things are moving in the right direction and it’s only right that our teaching keeps up. Health and Relationships helps us to achieve this. We can meet the new PSHE curriculum and support our pupils at the same time. For us, it’s the whole package.

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