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PSHE at St Joseph’s R.C. Middle School

Catholic education places the formation of the individual at the heart of the school’s pastoral care. However, PSHE (and RSE) is a curriculum subject that needs to ensure that pupils are offered a broad and balanced programme which provides them with clearly relevant, factual, scientific information and that it meets the statutory requirements placed on schools from a Catholic perspective.

  • Intention

    The intention of our PSHE curriculum is to create a happy, secure, well ordered and caring Catholic community.  To ensure that our young people will meet the National Curriculum expectations in PSHE, it is taught using the Catholic specific resource Life to the Full, as well as other bespoke resources, and with the additional support of external organisations, so that students can experience learning beyond the classroom.

    It is our intention that our PSHE curriculum leads every child to aspire to be the best individual they can be:

    • To develop the skills to grow in confidence as they develop their own God-given attributes
    • To recognise a sense of responsibility within themselves and learn about their rights
    • To develop positive relationships, built on mutual respect and to promote respect and equality
    • To recognise and manage emotions within a range of relationships
    • To deal with risky or negative relationships, including all forms of bullying
    • To encourage self-discipline and self-esteem with respect and consideration for others
    • To be supported and equipped for managing loss, including bereavement and separation
    • To manage change, including transition
    • To encourage and maintain positive physical, mental and emotional wellbeing
    • To know how to identify and access help, advice and support
    • To encourage students to take an active part in the life of our community
    • To help students develop lively, inquiring minds and the ability to question and argue rationally
    • To know how to make informed choices and be enterprising and ambitious
    • To develop employability, team working and leadership skills and develop flexibility and resilience
    • To learn about the economic and business environment
    • To understand how personal financial choices can affect oneself and others and about rights and responsibilities as consumers
    • To understand how Catholic Virtues and British Values relate to PSHE
    • To support the development of students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding
    • To develop a real understanding of the wider world
    • To promote a sense of responsibility for the environment and Christian stewardship

    It is our intention to work in partnership with parents and careers to compliment and not replace their primary role as ‘first educators’ of their children. This is managed primarily through a parent platform, online resources and the school website, with the added option of speaking to teachers, as the need arises, in order to do what is best for the child.

  • Implementation

    We recognise that the PSHE curriculum must be personal and relevant to the cohorts of pupils within school and that it is everyone’s responsibility whether it be pastoral, the RE teachers or support staff around school as it’s an integral part of life at St Joseph’s.  Whilst RE teachers are responsible for delivering PSHE lessons it also links to form times, assemblies and other subjects in school, as well as daily Catholic life and collective worship themes. We have several teaching assistants who are qualified in social and emotional learning, (ELSA), and they work on a 1:1 basis with identified children when the need arises. PSHE is also delivered with the help and support of external organisations and charities.

    Our PSHE, including RSE curriculum is planned, taught and resourced through the Diocesan recommended scheme, Life to the Full. This allows for appropriate delivery within a Catholic faith context. PSHE is taught to reinforce and build on previous learning and there is a degree of flexibility within the curriculum to revisit key composite knowledge in order to improve retention and understanding, should responses indicate a need for this. Carefully designed schemes of learning in PSHE ensure the consistency and progress of all learners.

    Teachers plan for open learning activities which suit the ethos of PSHE and very much support speaking and listening as communication is another aspect that addresses the needs of our children. All learning activities provide an opportunity for students to develop their skills, knowledge and attitude: never underestimate the impact of children debating or discussing; even practising using language or talking about feelings can help them develop key skills for the future.

    In lessons we develop ground rules together and agree to adhere to these during PSHE discussions, e.g. “We will talk openly but we will not ask each other personal questions.” Sometimes we will explore the situation through the lens of a fictional character (a major benefit of using the Life to the Full resources) Instead of asking, “What would you do in this situation?” this approach allows for the questions to follow the lines of “What could this character do in this situation?” and “What could someone do if this happened to them?” It enables students to engage objectively with the subject matter, without embarrassment or emotional upset from being asked to imagine themselves in (or relive) a stressful experience.  In PSHE education, we welcome questions and want the students to be comfortable asking them.

    Individual, private books are kept for recording any notes or thoughts that students wish to document for their own reference – as learning is not based upon a child’s ability to write answers to questions, more about including everyone in the decision making, the discussions and during the practical and hands on activities.

    We have many groups at St Joseph’s where the students get the opportunity to discuss their opinions and thoughts, promote positive changes in school, be part of the decision making process, lead assemblies and collective worship, as well as the opportunity to be good role models and offer support where needed. (School Council, Mini Vinnies, Friendship Ambassadors, Wellbeing Mentors and Spiritual Counsellors)

  • Impact

    Our PSHE curriculum aims to help our young people grow and develop as individuals, as members of families and of social and economic communities. We build on prior learning from Lower Key Stage 2 and through our teaching, we strive to ensure that our pupils become:

    • successful learners who enjoy the art of learning, make progress and achieve – inspired
    • confident individuals who are able to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives – engaged
    • responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society – challenged
    • able citizens who will be able to demonstrate and apply the British values of Democracy, Tolerance, Mutual respect, Rule of law and Liberty – diversified
    • students who can understand relationships, friendships and how to communicate with people – valued
    • able to demonstrate a healthy outlook towards school which will help with attendance and behaviour – motivated
    • able to build emotional resiliency and become responsible members of society – independent
    • confident on their journey, preparing them for life and work in modern Britain, or further afield! – able
    • able to use their learning throughout the other subjects and general life experiences – confident
    • happy students who have formed some fond memories of learning and school life – reflective

    N.B. ‘PSHE’ in this document also includes a general overview for RSE too. Please see the RSE (Draft June, 2020) policy for more specific details.

PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) education

At St Joseph’s RC Middle School we want every child to be happy and enthusiastic learners of PSHE. We want them to be eager to achieve their very best in order to use their God-given talents, grow in self-confidence and positively contribute to the school. We strive to ensure that St Joseph’s will be a safe and inclusive environment for everyone.

PSHE is both a school curriculum subject and a naturally integral part of all learning at St Joseph’s RC Middle School. Through this subject our children and young people acquire knowledge and skills in order to encourage them to stay safe, be healthy, (physically and mentally), and prepare for life and work in the modern world.

PSHE is taught in a spiral curriculum where the key concepts are revisited year on year. Pupils are encouraged to articulate their thinking and develop their ideas through speaking and listening.

PSHE education covers many topics which are organised into three themes

  • Health and Wellbeing

    (diet, fitness and maintaining good health)

  • Relationships

    (friendships, families, personal safety, including online relationships)

  • Living in the Wider World

    (careers, media literacy, Christian stewardship and economic wellbeing)

At St Joseph’s we follow a scheme recommended by the diocese called ‘Ten:Ten’ which follows the New National Curriculum for PSHE whilst adhering to the teaching of Catholic Education.

RE teachers are responsible for delivering PSHE lessons but it also links to form times and other subjects in school, as well as daily Catholic life and collective worship themes. We have several teaching assistants who are qualified in social and emotional learning, (ELSA), and they work on a 1:1 basis with identified children when the need arises. PSHE is also delivered with the help and support of external organisations and charities. For example, St John’s Ambulance, the Police, trips to Safety Works, the Fire Brigade, Show Racism the Red Card workshops, NSPCC, Diana Award, CAFOD, the Church and many more.

In our fight to ‘Stand up to Bullying’ and through the national Diana Award, St Joseph’s have six key children in year 8 who have been identified as Friendship Ambassadors. As a result of their anti-bullying training and the guidance from Mrs Hagger, they have learned to run workshops, lead assemblies and be a visual point of contact for the children in school.

Our principle aim is that all children leave St Joseph’s RC Middle School with a wide range of happy and rich memories in PSHE formed through interesting and exciting experiences that enhance their awareness of their own abilities and as a valued person of the community.