With the right training and a supportive leadership team, a PSHE Lead can drive change and school improvement in a short space of time.
Corina is Year 2 teacher and PSHE education lead at Sparken Hill Academy Primary School in Nottinghamshire. She attended the PSHE Association online CPD session on Planning Primary PSHE education (key stages 1 and 2) in July 2020 and the follow-up session in October. This case study outlines the impact that this training had on her school.
Corina’s school was using outdated SEAL (social and emotional aspects of learning) materials to teach aspects of PSHE education. They had used the same curriculum for a number of years and were eager to develop it to take into account their contextual changes. Corina and her team were finding it difficult to plan for progression in many PSHE topics and were struggling to come up with a comprehensive approach.
The Sparken Hill school Senior Leadership Team wanted PSHE education to be a major focus for the 2020/21 academic year. This was in order to better support their pupils’ needs and meet new statutory requirements to provide Relationships and Health Education. Corina therefore sought training that could help her to develop an effective whole school approach to PSHE education.
Our ‘Planning Primary PSHE Education’ course outlined the importance of a structured and sequenced PSHE programme. It introduced PSHE Association tools for whole-school planning and supported Corina to build a PSHE curriculum that work for her school and pupils.
Corina and colleagues:
- assessed local needs using local data to figure out what areas of Health Education their PSHE education should focus on
- adapted the PSHE Association Thematic Primary Programme Builder for their school
- delivered in-school CPD to introduce the new curriculum and enable staff to reflect on the importance of PSHE education
- chose suitable resources for each unit of learning (drawing on PSHE Association Quality Assured resources) to inform lesson planning
- restocked the library with children’s literature on a variety of PSHE themes
Corina and Karen (Senior Family Support Worker) now take time out of class for planning, which enables them to work together on drafting lesson plans for each of the year groups. This reduces class teachers’ workload and supports teachers’ understanding of effective PSHE education lessons.
Half-termly staff development sessions introduce teachers to the focus of learning for that half term. These sessions allow staff to review their planning and adapt it where necessary to the needs of their classes. Questions and reflections from staff during these sessions build an understanding of the progression of learning across the school.
The school promotes the importance of PSHE education by:
- setting expectations that all class teachers are expected to deliver PSHE education (as they know their pupils best)
- using curriculum time to deliver PSHE education and stressing that it cannot be delivered during PPA or by cover teachers
- capturing learning by asking pupils to keep a PSHE education exercise book for written work and assessment activities
- facilitating collaboration between the Family Support Worker/Mental Health Lead and the PSHE co-ordinator — to develop awareness and understanding of local community issues
Linking PSHE with broader wellbeing:
Corina and Karen have developed classroom systems that support pupil wellbeing alongside the PSHE curriculum, including:
- class ‘kindness trees’ allows recording and celebration of kind behaviour pupils have shown to one another
- regular informal check-ins with pupils to enable a “finger on the pulse” of how they are feeling
- termly surveys asks pupils how they are feeling. This gives the class teacher insight into issues or worries the pupils are experiencing. These can then be followed up or referred to the school Family Support team without delay
- staff Attitude to Gratitude boards to celebrate positive attributes of colleagues to promote a whole school ethos and approach that underpins our PSHE delivery
- worry Boxes for pupils to pop their worries on a card into the box for a member of the Family Support Team to action each day
Corina and Karen are now ‘buzzing with excitement’ about the new curriculum. Staff are on board and are equally interested in the impact of well-planned and delivered PSHE education on the school and pupils.
This term, Corina plans to:
- develop more robust baseline and end-point assessment for the PSHE education units of learning
- carry out informal observations of teaching to collect evidence on classroom ethos, effective teaching styles and pupil engagement
- continue consultation with parents on various aspects of Relationships Education