At Throckley Primary School, we are committed to providing a purposeful and empowering curriculum that fully prepares learners for the next steps in their school career and the wider world. We want our children to aspire to achieve and believe that it is essential that they understand the world they live in. Broadening our children’s horizons and giving them the belief that they are capable of achieving great things drives our curriculum. We hope that our PSHE curriculum gives the children the knowledge and understanding they need make informed choices and to be a positive influence in the communities that they belong to.
Today’s children and young people are growing up in an increasingly complex world and living their lives seamlessly on and offline. This presents many positive and exciting opportunities, but also includes challenges and risks. In this environment, children and young people need to know how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal and social lives in a positive way. Our PSHE curriculum aims to develop skills and attributes such as resilience, self-esteem, risk-management, team-working and critical thinking in the context of three core themes: relationships, physical health & mental wellbeing and living in the wider world (including economic wellbeing and careers education). We want our learners to feel empowered with the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage life’s challenges and make the most of life’s opportunities. We aim to give our learners the knowledge and tools they need to understand how to take care of themselves, physically and mentally, and how they can stay safe and thrive in an ever changing world.
PSHE content is age appropriate and developmentally appropriate. It is taught sensitively and inclusively, with respect to the backgrounds and beliefs of pupils and parents while always with the aim of providing pupils with the knowledge they need.
Our PSHE curriculum puts in place the key building blocks of healthy, respectful relationships, focusing on family and friendships, in all contexts, including online. This will sit alongside the essential understanding of how to be healthy.
In addition to the statutory requirements (September 2020), our PSHE curriculum also includes the strand ‘Living in the Wider World’. This includes learning about economic wellbeing: ambitions, work and career (as part of the Career Benchmarks Primary Pilot), economic wellbeing: money, media literacy and digital resilience, community and shared responsibility.
Our PSHE curriculum will consist of the following core themes:
- Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing
- Living in the Wider World.
This starts with pupils being taught about what a relationship is, what friendship is, what family means and who the people are who can support them. From the beginning of primary school, pupils will be taught how to take turns, how to treat each other with kindness, consideration and respect, the importance of honesty and truthfulness, permission seeking and giving, and the concept of personal privacy. Establishing personal space and boundaries, showing respect and understanding the differences between appropriate and inappropriate or unsafe physical, and other, contact – these are the forerunners of teaching about consent, which takes place at secondary school.
Teachers talk explicitly about the features of healthy friendships, family relationships and other relationships which young children are likely to encounter. Drawing attention to these in a range of contexts will enable pupils to form a strong early understanding of the features of relationships that are likely to lead to happiness and security. This will also help children recognise any less positive relationships when they encounter them.
Teaching about families requires sensitive and well-judged teaching based on knowledge of pupils and their circumstances. Families of many forms provide a nurturing environment for children. (Families can include for example, single parent families, LGBT+ parents, families headed by grandparents, adoptive parents, foster parents/carers amongst other structures.) Care is taken to ensure that there is no stigmatisation of children based on their home circumstances and teaching needs to reflect sensitively that some children may have a different structure of support around them; e.g. looked after children or young carers.
Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing
The aim of teaching pupils about physical health and mental wellbeing is to give them the information that they need to make good decisions about their own health and wellbeing. It will enable them to recognise what is normal and what is an issue in themselves and others and, when issues arise, know how to seek support as early as possible from appropriate sources.
Effective teaching aims to reduce stigma attached to health issues, in particular those to do with mental wellbeing. Throckley Primary School has an atmosphere that encourages openness. This means that pupils feel they can check their understanding and seek any necessary help and advice as they gain knowledge about how to promote good health and wellbeing.
The focus is on teaching the characteristics of good physical health and mental wellbeing. Teachers are clear that mental wellbeing is a normal part of daily life, in the same way as physical health. This starts with pupils being taught about the benefits and importance of daily exercise, good nutrition and sufficient sleep, and giving pupils the language and knowledge to understand the normal range of emotions that everyone experiences. This should enable pupils to articulate how they are feeling, develop the language to talk about their bodies, health and emotions and judge whether what they are feeling and how they are behaving is appropriate and proportionate for the situations that they experience.
Teachers talk about the steps pupils can take to protect and support their own and others’ health and wellbeing, including simple self-care techniques, personal hygiene, prevention of health and wellbeing problems and basic first aid. Emphasis is given to the positive two-way relationship between good physical health and good mental wellbeing, and the benefits to mental wellbeing of physical exercise and time spent outdoors. A firm foundation in the benefits and characteristics of good health and wellbeing will enable teachers to talk about isolation, loneliness, unhappiness, bullying and the negative impact of poor health and wellbeing.
Pupils are taught about the benefits of rationing time spent online and the risks of excessive use of electronic devices. In later primary, pupils are taught why social media, computer games and online gaming have age restrictions and should be equipped to manage common difficulties encountered online.
Living in the Wider World
Pupils will learn about what rules are, why rules and laws are needed in different situations and the consequences of not following them. Teaching will enable children to understand the importance of having compassions towards others and the shared responsibilities we all have for caring for other people, living things and the environment.
Pupils are given opportunities to discover the different groups they belong to and about the different groups that make up their community. Pupils learn about diversity and the value of diverse communities. They learn about stereotypes and how they can negatively influence behaviours and attitudes towards others. Children are given strategies for challenging stereotypes.
Children learn about money and the different forms it comes in. They recognise that people have different attitudes towards saving and spending money, explore what influences people’s decisions and what makes something ‘good value for money’. Children are exposed to the need to manage money and recognise that spending decisions should be based on priorities, needs and wants.
Throckley primary school are currently taking part in the Career Benchmarks: Primary Pilot. The aim of the pilot is to inspire young minds, spark curiosity and sow the seeds of ambition at the earliest possible age – then keep that momentum going through secondary school and beyond. Pupils are given opportunities to have meaningful encounters with a range of different employers and workplaces. Curriculum links are made with careers and future learning possibilities. Stereotypes linked to careers are challenged and children are encouraged to raise their aspirations.
Our school council members continue to play in integral part in school life. They hold regular meetings and actively promote positive change in school. We are an accredited Healthy School and are working towards gaining Healthy School Plus status. In addition to all of these wonderful things, we are also active participants in the Career Benchmarks: Primary Pilot delivered by North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).