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Personal, social, health, and economic education - PSHE

The Ashcombe School, in partnership with parents, has a vital role in preparing children and young people to negotiate the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly complex world. This presents many positive and exciting opportunities, but also challenges and risks. Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) is a school subject that deals with real-life issues affecting our children, families, and communities. It’s concerned with the social, health, and economic realities of their lives, experiences, and attitudes including relationships. It supports students to be healthy (mentally and physically), safe (online and offline), and equipped to thrive in their relationships and careers. 

Parents’ and carers’ support is important to the success of our PSHE program. Students are encouraged to talk about the curriculum with parents and carers. Our PSHE curriculum includes relationships and sex education (RSE)  in addition to health education and is available for download so that parents and carers can see what content is being delivered.

Why is PSHE important?

It ...

  • Contributes to physical and mental health and wellbeing, encouraging individual responsibility for health.
  • Contributes to the safety and protection of our children and young people, from staying safe online to understanding risks associated with drugs and alcohol and knowing the law surrounding these topics.
  • Contributes to the information young people need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds, not just intimate relationships, and know boundaries within the law.
  • Promotes independence, resilience, and responsibility — preparing children and young people for future roles as parents, employees, and leaders.
  • Supports employability by developing the personal and social skills demanded by commerce and industry.
  • Supports students to be critical consumers of information, and develops the skills to identify misleading news or views on social media and elsewhere.

How is PSHE taught?

PSHE is taught for one double lesson per week in years 7-11.   As a school, we operate a whole school approach to relationships, health, and personal development, and some appropriate topics are explored in tutor time and assembly.  Other subject areas contribute to certain topics such as biology in science and aspects of relationship and health education arise in RE, English, Drama PE, and Food Technology. We also deliver PSHE topics as part of the Whole School Tutor Period program. 

The school believes that students should have opportunities to have their genuine questions answered in a sensible and matter-of-fact manner. Teachers will use their skill and discretion to decide whether to answer questions in class and, if so, how. They will establish clear parameters of what is appropriate and inappropriate.

A wide range of teaching methods are used that enable students to actively participate in their own learning. This includes the use of quizzes, case studies, research, role-play, video, small group discussion, and the use of appropriate guest speakers. Occasional use of drama productions also forms part of the program.

Our PSHE Curriculum

Like other subjects, PSHE lessons gradually build key concepts and skills through topics that are relevant to children's age and stage of development. PSHE lessons cover a wide range of topics and curriculum areas based on the three core themes:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Relationships
  • Living in the wider world  

Health Education aims to give your child the information they need to make good decisions about their own health and wellbeing, to recognise issues in themselves and others, and to seek support as early as possible when issues arise.

Topics include:

  • mental wellbeing
  • internet safety and harms
  • physical health and fitness
  • healthy eating
  • drugs, alcohol and tobacco
  • health and prevention
  • basic first aid
  • changing adolescent body 

Relationship Education will build on the teaching at primary school. It aims to give young people the information they need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds. They will explore what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like and what makes a good friend, colleague and successful marriage or committed relationship.

At the appropriate time, the focus will move to developing intimate relationships, to equip your child with the knowledge they need to make safe, informed and healthy choices as they progress through adult life.

Topics include:

  • secondary transition
  • friendship, including respectful relationships
  • families
  • online media
  • anti-bullying
  • being safe
  • consent 
  • …and, later on, intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health

As students progress through the years, they will be taught the facts and the law about sex, sexuality, sexual health and gender identity in an age-appropriate and inclusive way. It must be recognised that young people may be discovering or understanding their sexual orientation or gender identity. All students should feel that the content is relevant to them and their developing sexuality. Sexual orientation and gender identity are explored at a timely point and in a clear, sensitive and respectful manner. 

The aim of Relationship Education is to give young people the information they need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds, not just intimate relationships, in a secure learning environment taught by professionals. It should enable them to know what a healthy relationship looks like and what makes a good friend, a good colleague and a successful marriage or other type of committed relationship.

Effective Relationship Education does not encourage early sexual experimentation. It should teach young people to understand human sexuality and to respect themselves and others. It enables young people to mature, build their confidence and self-esteem and understand the reasons for delaying sexual activity. Effective Relationship Education also supports people, throughout life, to develop safe, fulfilling and healthy sexual relationships, at the appropriate time. Knowledge about safer sex and sexual health remains important to ensure that young people are equipped to make safe, informed and healthy choices as they progress through adult life.

Living in the wider world aims to teach our young people how to be responsible citizens and possess the skills needed for the future.   Our young people will also learn about careers and other work-related learning aspects including citizenship and financial management. 

Year 7 PSHE Curriculum Roadmap

Year 8 PSHE Curriculum RoadmapYear 9 PSHE Curriculum RoadmapYear 10 PSHE Curriculum RoadmapYear 11 PSHE Curriculum Roadmap

Can I withdraw my child from Sex Education lessons?

If you do not want your child to take part in some or all of the Sex Education lessons delivered at secondary school, you can ask that they be withdrawn. The headteacher will consider this request and discuss it with you.

The science curriculum in all maintained schools also includes content on human development, including reproduction, from which there is no right to withdraw children.

From 2020, parents and carers cannot withdraw their child from Health Education or the Relationships Education element of PSHE, because it is important that all children receive this content, covering topics such as friendships and how to stay safe.