Improving PSHE and SRE in Medway schools

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Colleagues in Medway appreciated the great value of PSHE education in the city but as non-experts in the subject wanted support in assessing where they could provide best support. In particular, they were keen to ensure that secondary schools in the area were visited and supported to develop action plans to improve their practice – but this first meant lesson observations and looking at the quality of school policies.

By working with a large number of schools, we have been able to significantly reduce our costs, allowing schools to access excellent training at no cost (and free membership) while the local authority has been able to get a big impact on a small investment.

Our work with Medway Council has been recognised by a recent Royal Society for Public Health/CfWI report on enhancing the role of the 'non-traditional' public health workforce in improving the nation's health

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Reviewing provision in Medway Schools

Our Training and Development Lead, Jenny Barksfield, worked with colleagues in Medway to develop a subject review framework specifically for schools in Medway, and then undertook these initial visits. To build capacity and sustain the project beyond our engagement, we also provided training to the Medway Public Health team to undertake future visits. These visits were designed to be friendly and non-judgemental, and were warmly welcomed by schools.

Supporting Medway Schools to deliver high-quality PSHE education, including SRE

All Medway Schools have been given membership of the Association, allowing them to access advice and support from our subject experts whenever the need it. Over the next months, our Training Lead will be providing dedicated CPD to schools, based on the needs identified within the review visits. Schools can also make use of our Programme of Study for Medway, which has been tailored to address Medway Council’s key public heath priorities – including teenage pregnancy, child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, and e-safety.

At the start of the project, we invited schools to a launch day. This launch both raised awareness and interest among Medway schools, and also offered an excellent networking opportunity for schools. Over the course of the project, it became clear that Sex and Relationships Education (referred to in Medway as ‘RSE’) was a particular priority for the council and therefore we aided them by providing advice and quality assurance on a set of lesson plans aimed at Years 7-9 covering topics such as puberty, unplanned and planned pregnancy, consent and pornography.


"We are very pleased to be working with the PSHE Association, they have provided essential support and guidance at the planning stage of our projects, their specialist knowledge and experience has helped to shape our PSHE project and our RSE work.

"The PSHE Association supported us in our vision and provided necessary advice and guidance on developing the project in the early stages and have continued to be a valuable resource  throughout. It was useful to be able to talk through our ideas and get practical advice and support on how we can best achieve the outcomes whilst providing support and guidance to schools.

"I would recommend the association to colleagues, they have provided good value for money, the scope of the project will enable a larger percentage of Medway children to benefit from high quality PSHE and RSE.  Importantly it will enable them to develop the necessary knowledge to make more positive health choices and the necessary skills to negotiate challenging situations."

Catherine Wilson, Medway Public Health Directorate


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