Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE) at Westhaven School
The golden thread that permeates our curriculum and our conduct through every school day are the core values which shape our learners to be:
- safely independent
- confident communicators
- respectful citizens
- resilient learners
- inquisitive thinkers
The Westhaven Way is our ethos and it underpins our daily approach to behaviour and learning. We want to help learners to become responsible citizens who respect and appreciate those around them. PSHE has a fundamental part to play in this, each learner accesses one hour each week dedicated to the delivery of PSHE. However, many other PSHE opportunities are offered to learners throughout each day.
PSHE helps learners develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe, and prepare for life and work in modern Britain. Through tailored lessons, learners will learn how to understand and implement the key values of a PSHE curriculum. This will include staying safe and healthy, building and maintaining successful relationships – and becoming active citizens who participate in society responsibly – now and in the future.
Teaching about mental well-being is central to ensuring that learners are well-prepared for the challenges that lay ahead of them. Our curriculum will equip learners with the knowledge and inspiration to take care of themselves and show them how to get support if a problem arises. Our PSHE curriculum will put in place the key building blocks of healthy, respectful relationships – focusing on family and friends – both on and offline, ensuring our learners are valued, inspired and prepared for life beyond Westhaven School. This includes helping them to deal with critical issues they face every day such as friendships, emotional wellbeing and change. PSHE gives them a solid foundation for whatever challenging opportunities lie ahead, so they can face a world full of uncertainty with hope. The four key words which summarise our PSHE curriculum intent is: safe, healthy, responsible and prepared.
How does PSHE link to the Westhaven values?
Safely independent- Learners learn about keeping safe, keeping healthy, developing healthy and positive relationships, developing resilience and acting upon learned methods to manage their own responses.
Confident communicators – PSHE education develops our learner’s vocabulary and confidence needed to clearly articulate their thoughts and feelings in an environment of openness, trust and respect, and know when and how they can seek the support of others.
Respectful citizens- PSHE equips learners with the knowledge, understanding, skills and strategies required to live healthy, safe, productive, capable, responsible and balanced lives.
Resilient learners- PSHE supports learners to cope with life’s challenges and reduce the impact that stress can have on their lives. It is not just about their ability to ‘bounce back’, but their ability to adapt and stay motivated during challenging circumstances, whilst maintaining health and wellbeing.
Inquisitive thinkers- PSHE develops and nurtures inquisitive minds with it’s progressive and thought provoking curriculum, equipping our learners with skills in order to find answers to their questions.
Scheme of Learning
(Click link to open the PSHE Curriculum Map)
We build on the statutory content already outlined in DfE guidance and have developed our scheme of learning from the planning framework for learners with SEND, published by the PSHE association. The PSHE Association (formally the PSHE Subject Association) was founded in 2006 and is a company limited by guarantee and a membership organisation. Our PSHE curriculum is inspired by Bruner’s spiral curriculum. We have developed our scheme of learning in mind that learning is built upon each term, every year and across key stages. Key content chosen by staff, parents and carers is also repeated, to further embed important concepts.
The Scheme of learning is organised into six sections for Key stage 1-4:
- Self-Awareness (Me, who I am, my likes, dislikes, strengths and interests)
- Self-care, Support and Safety (Looking after myself and keeping safe; aspects of Relationships and Sex Education.)
- Managing Feelings (Understanding feelings, and that how I feel and how others feel affects choices and behaviour; aspects of Relationships and Sex Education)
- Changing and Growing (How I and others are changing; new opportunities and responsibilities; aspects of Relationships and Sex Education)
- Healthy Lifestyles (Being and keeping healthy, physically and mentally)
- Let’s revisit (Primary: over learning of key concepts including: privacy, consent, and puberty. Secondary: Drugs and alcohol, diversity and over learning of key concepts including: consent, Relationships and Sex Education,)
The scheme of learning is organised into six sections for Key stage 5:
- Living in the wider world (Readiness for work, next steps)
- Health and wellbeing (Health choices and safety)
- Relationships (Diversity and inclusion, intimate relationships)
- Living in the wider world (Planning for the future, financial choices)
- Relationships (Respectful relationships, building and maintaining relationships)
- Health and wellbeing (Mental health and emotional wellbeing, independence)
The Westhaven PSHE curriculum incorporates an age-appropriate understanding of RSE (Relationship and Sex Education), as set out in the statutory guidance, to ensure that all learners are exposed to statutory content, differentiated to a level of their own understanding. PSHE Is taught in accordance with learners’ readiness and reflects the universal needs shared by all children and young people as well as the specific needs of Westhaven learners. Our scheme is taught through a spiral programme whereby we revisit themes, increase challenge, broaden scope, and deepen learners’ thinking and understanding. Links are made with relevant subjects to provide consistency and consolidation (e.g. Science /Computing / P.E. / Citizenship) and some PSHE content is covered through these other lessons.
As a school we promote a shared set of values that support our learners in being prepared for life in modern Britain. We promote the values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. Through aspects of school life such as voting for school council members, assemblies and discrete PSHE lessons, these values are embedded within our curriculum.
Delivery of PSHE
We place an emphasis on active learning by including the learners in discussions, investigations and problem-solving activities. We encourage the learners to take part in a range of practical activities. We organise classes in such a way that learners are able to participate in discussion to resolve conflicts or set agreed classroom rules of behaviour. We offer learners the opportunity to hear visiting speakers, such as health workers, police, and representatives from the local church, whom we invite into the school to talk about their role in creating a positive and supportive local community. The style of each lesson is very practical and discussion based, with a calm and safe environment provided so that learners feel supported appropriately when discussing issues that could be considered sensitive. We use a variety of resources, such as visuals, word mats, real life objects, videos and speakers, to fully immerse our learners in their education. Teaching of PSHE takes place once a week in a dedicated session within tutor groups, however teachers may also feel it necessary to teach PSHE as a result of an issue that has arisen within their own class or year group, therefore flexibility of subject coverage is needed for this.
To further ensure that our curriculum at Westhaven promotes learners to be safe, healthy, responsible and prepared, we have stripped back some content originally in the PSHE association planning framework that was not statutory. This was to ensure that enough time and repetition was given for key areas that following a consultation were found most important to be covered for our learners by their families and teaching staff. Online safety is covered in PSHE, however a more in depth coverage is found in our computing curriculum, references to where and when this is covered can be found at the end of the PSHE scheme of learning.
Assessment and Recording
PSHE is currently evidenced through a new online learning app called Evidence for Learning, this has been newly introduced this year, and is in its trial stages. Evidence of work achieved is uploaded during or after every PSHE session, along with the Learning Intention and a comment of the learners contributions.
Whilst we understand that PSHE cannot be assessed in the same way as traditional subjects we still believe it is important to monitor learners progress. Teaching and learning of PSHE will be assessed by:
• Student self-assessment
• Baseline assessments
• Assessment for learning
• Teacher assessment – using our progression of skills document
• Peer assessment
Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)
Relationships and Sex education is learning about the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up, relationships, sex, human sexuality and sexual health. Some aspects are taught in science, and others are taught as part of personal, social, and health education (PSHE). A comprehensive programme of RSE provides accurate information about the body, reproduction, sex, and sexual health. It also gives children and young people essential skills for building positive, enjoyable, respectful and non-exploitative relationships and staying safe both on and offline.
Effective RSE is essential if learners are to make responsible and well informed decisions about their lives. It helps support learners through their physical, emotional and moral development. It helps learners learn to respect themselves and others and move with confidence from childhood through adolescence into adulthood. Addressing Relationships and Sex Education has three main elements enabling learners to:
• Explore their own and other peoples’ attitudes and values.
• Develop and practise personal and social skills.
• Increase their knowledge and skills.
Biological aspects of RSE are taught within the science curriculum. To supplement the core programme, learners across KS4 receive stand-alone sex education sessions delivered by a trained health professional from the school nursing team each year if they have suitable availability. In the past these workshops have consisted of sexual health and contraception, breast and testicular health. Keeping It Safe sessions also run every week for KS4 and KS5 learners. This session is for fifteen minutes each week, and delivered by our pastoral team. It is a more informal, learner-led approach to relationships education, where learners can ask questions and have drop-in support sessions.
Some RSE content is delivered in specific intervention groups. A learner may be referred to receive a relationships and sex education intervention; this may be on an individual basis or as part of a selected group. A referral can be made by a member of staff or parents/carers.
Current interventions running at Westhaven in these areas are the NSPCC Speak out, Stay safe programme – designed for Primary aged SEND learners, and Talk Relationships -designed for Secondary aged SEND learners. Westhaven also plans and delivers more bespoke interventions tailored to EHCP outcomes and learner needs, some of these interventions link with areas of PSHE and RSE, however they can change from term to term.
In addition to this, all key stage four learners access 15 minutes a week, as part of a learner led intervention for relationships and sex education called ‘Keep it safe’. These sessions are planned around current and arising, relevant issues that have been identified through our online tracking systems, or through PSHE sessions.
The PSHE scheme of learning follows six themes, one covered each term across the whole school, however with clear progression in the topic areas covered. RSE content is populated throughout the year, according to relevant themes.
Our PSHE scheme of work for key stage 5 complements our scheme taught throughout the school, ensuring appropriate developmental progression by revisiting themes and building on prior learning from key stage 4. Although it is recognised that RSE content is not statutory in key stage 5, we believe it is essential for our learners to be given the opportunity to repeat certain content.
Talking about sex and relationships at home
Talking to your child about relationships and sex education at home can be a difficult challenge for some families. It’s important for parents and carers to talk to their children about sex and relationships to help keep them safe and recognise the signs of abuse. When talking to your child about sex and relationships, it’s really important that you help them to feel supported by listening openly and non-judgmentally. A good website to refer to for more information can be found here: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/sex-relationships/healthy-relationships/
In addition, here is a top ten list created by Westhaven, with helpful links as to where you may be able to purchase good books to help support your child at home in these sensitive subjects, as well as links to useful websites for parents to refresh their own knowledge.
The sex education contained in National Curriculum science (Key Stages 1 and 2) is compulsory in maintained schools. All state-funded schools must have ‘due regard’ to the Secretary of State’s guidance on SRE (DfEE, 2000). This states that:
• All children, including those who develop earlier than average, need to know about puberty before they experience the onset of physical changes (1.13).
• Children should learn ‘how a baby is conceived and born’ before they leave primary school (1.16).
Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which:
• Prepares learners at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
• Promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of learners.
This is stated in section 2.1 of the National Curriculum framework (DfE, 2013a) and relates to duties set out in the 2002 Education Act and the 2010 Academies Act.
‘Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education’ (June, 2019) provided statutory guidance to schools and it is now mandatory for all learners to study health education as well as relationships education in primary school and relationships and sex education in secondary school. Primary schools are not required to teach sex education, beyond the Science curriculum, but the new guidance recommends that primary schools have a sex education programme. As a maintained secondary school, the new guidance requires us to provide RSE to all secondary-aged learners.
Right to withdraw
As a school we notify parents by letter when particular aspects of relationships and sex education are taught. Parents cannot withdraw their children from relationships education, however parents have the right to withdraw their children from the non-statutory, non-science components of sex education up until the third term before their 16th birthday. However at Westhaven our curriculum does not teach anything outside of the statutory content. If a parent wishes their child to be withdrawn they should discuss this with the headteacher, and make it clear which aspects of the programme they do not wish their child to participate in. If the parent still wants to withdraw their child, having discussed it with the headteacher, the school will then work with the parents to support their child, if required.
At Westhaven we understand that by nature certain subjects may carry an increased risk of learner disclosure, in cases where there is a safeguarding risk, school safeguarding policy in relation to Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018 will be followed. In all other cases; concerns will be recorded on CPoMS.
What would you be missing out on if you weren’t able to study PSHE?
“We could be in danger if we didn’t learn PSHE” – Chester Class
“We wouldn’t understand changes in our body, how to make friends or how to keep safe.” – Leeds Class
“PSHE helps us to make good choices and be safe.” – Bristol Class
“It’s important to learn about how we change in preparation for adulthood.“ – Liverpool Class
Please see both the PSHE policy and the Relationships and Sex Education policy for more information:
If you have any concerns or questions around the PSHE curriculum at Westhaven school, please contact the school via the reception email address.
‘Relationships, Sex and Health education, especially for SEND is a subject with unique power, which when taught well, enables students to determine and safeguard their own future.’ (Perrin and Welch, 2023:89)
‘PSHE is important for all students as they move towards young adulthood and more independent living.’ (Milliken-Tull, 2023:93)
The Department for Education (DfE) calls PSHE education ‘an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education’ and that ‘all schools should teach PSHE, drawing on good practice’.
‘PSHE education isn’t just another school subject. It’s a chance to give every child and young person an equal opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge they need to thrive now and in the future.’ (PSHE Association, No date)