Personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) and citizenship education plays a key role in ‘promot[ing] the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental, physical development of pupils at the school and of society’, and prepares pupils ‘for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life’ (2014 National Curriculum Framework document). It is an important and necessary part of our curriculum, enabling our children to become healthy, confident and independent members of society and make positive contributions within a diverse multicultural community. PSHE also supports many of the principles of Safeguarding.
Children explore topics such as empathy, managing feelings, self-awareness, social skills and motivation. They are encouraged to see themselves as valued individuals within a community and to contribute to shaping a welcoming, safe and fair learning community for all. PSHE helps children develop as confident, responsible citizens and helps to promote good self-esteem. Children explore feelings of happiness and excitement, sadness, anxiety and fearfulness, while learning (and putting into practice) shared models for ‘calming down’ and ‘problem solving’. They learn skills of cooperation, tolerance, valuing diversity and working in groups, managing anger and resolving conflict. They develop a greater understanding of friendships, their own strengths and weaknesses and personal goal-setting.
We use a range of teaching and learning styles. Group work, ‘circle time’ discussion, role-play, and debates form a central part of our classroom PSHE teaching, but there are also opportunities for quiet reflection time. We encourage the children to take part in a range of whole school activities that promote active citizenship and healthy lifestyles, e.g. charity fundraising (Children in Need, Comic Relief, Christmas shoebox appeal etc.), participation in school events such as themed house colour days and assemblies, local sports and arts events, pupil questionnaires, School and Eco-council activities and healthy living competitions. We offer children the opportunity to hear visiting speakers, such as members of the police or fire service, and representatives from the local church or charities, whom we invite to talk about their role in creating a positive and supportive local community. A culture of achievement is promoted within the school through the celebration of pupils’ accomplishments in lessons and Collective Worship. Year 5 and 6 children are encouraged to undertake special tasks and duties throughout the school, e.g. as colour team captains and ambassadors, and collective worship team members.
We teach PSHE and citizenship as a discrete subject with discrete curriculum time, as well as it being an integral part of many aspects of school life, including establishing class rules, settling disputes, and play during break times. We also introduce PSHE and citizenship through other subjects, e.g. discussion of issues in story time or Philosophy sessions, and studying health issues in Science and PE. As there is a large overlap between the programme of study for Religious Education and the aims of PSHE and citizenship, we teach a considerable amount of the PSHE and citizenship through our Beliefs and Values lessons. There is also a significant overlap between PSHE and our ‘Growth Mindset' and 5 Rs of Rackham approach, which has a high profile across the school and forms the focus of Friday celebration assemblies. This adds great strength to our teaching of four key learning dispositions, or skills: the emotional aspect of learning, resilience (perseverance, absorption, managing distractions etc.); the cognitive element, resourcefulness (questioning, organising, reasoning, predicting, capitalising, imagining, making links); the strategic aspect of learning, reflectiveness (planning, revising, distilling, flexibility, self-awareness etc.); and the social aspect of learning, reciprocity (respect, sharing, listening, empathy, imitation, interdependence, collaboration, and expression). We also develop PSHE and citizenship through whole-school learning opportunities across the curriculum, including daily assemblies, and special days or weeks planned into the school calendar.
We now use the 2011 PSHE Association approved Cambridgeshire ‘Primary Personal Development Programme’ (PDP) as a framework when planning PSHE provision in Key Stages 1 and 2. This covers all recommended aspects of PSHE and incorporates statutory guidance on drug, financial, and sex and relationship education, and the importance of physical activity and diet for a healthy lifestyle. It categorises units under four main ‘strands’: myself and my relationships, citizenship, healthy and safer lifestyles, and economic well-being. Provision in the Early Years is ensured through the statutory requirements of PSED in the EYFS Curriculum and is taught according to three early learning goals in self-confidence and self-awareness, managing feelings and behaviour, and making relationships.