Why are we teaching a knowledge-rich curriculum; how is it different?
Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education is an important and necessary part of all students' education. The PSHE curriculum is based on the guidance from the Department for Education.
At Smithdon we deliver our content via the ASPIRE programme. It is taught in three learning areas:
- Living in the Wider World
- Health and Wellbeing
Alongside this, Smithdon works incredibly hard to provide opportunities for our students to develop their personal skills and leadership qualities, regardless of their ability or background. Initiatives such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, Sports Leadership Framework and the Accelerated Reader programme have significantly enhanced the independent and interdependent attributes required to develop the young people of today.
The Relationship learning within our ASPIRE programme covers the compulsory teaching of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education (The Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019, made under sections 34 and 35 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017).
Why are we teaching this content, in this order?
Our curriculum is important to prepare our students for life beyond Smithdon by ensuring they develop the skills needed to make safe, informed choices as well as to be comfortable with themselves and respect the diversity of people around them. We want our students to develop the skills to help them become responsible, respectful, caring citizens of the communities they are part of.
We actively promote the fundamental British Values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. We actively promote British Values through:
- A rigorous PSHE programme delivered through Tutor Time, supported by relevant assemblies and curriculum enhancement days.
- Tutor Time sessions dedicated to reading quality literature books, offering the chance to reflect on British Values and school values through comprehensive tutor-led reading.
- "Them and Us" Tutor Time sessions that aim to raise the Cultural Capital of our students by encouraging acts of kindness and showing empathy for others.
- An effective pastoral system: structured to prepare students for life in modern Britain.
- Delivering an effective RE curriculum: planned and delivered to ensure our students develop understanding and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
- Reflecting democratic processes including mock elections: every student is given the opportunity to read political manifestos and vote for their chosen party and cast a vote reflecting their personal, informed views.
- Instilling confidence in every student through a reward-based behaviour system that focuses on making positive choices and building the self-esteem of every individual.
- The use of subject ambassadors for parents’ and information evenings: giving our students the opportunity to step up in front of the community.
- Effective safeguarding processes: ensuring every single student is safeguarded in the community as well as in school.
The teaching of RSE will encourage students to:
- Value and respect themselves and others
- Value healthy sexual relationships which are based on mutual respect and care
- Respect differences in religion, culture, gender, sexual orientation and abilities
- Value and respect their own and other’s rights to make choices in relationships – both sexual and platonic
- Recognise stable and loving relationships for the nurturing of children
Each PSHE theme/ strand is mapped and delivered through form time as the Aspire programme. Each year group has two PSHE sessions a week consisting of a total of 1 hour a week. PSHE is delivered in school within year groups enabling the lessons to be age appropriate. It is delivered by form tutors. We follow a spiral, thematic curriculum, which enables topics to be revisited and developed in an age-appropriate way, to ensure key messages are embedded.
Additionally, we invite experts into school to talk to year groups on issues such as personal safety, puberty, social media use and alcohol – these additional sessions provide another way of learning, whilst reinforcing the PSHE messages.
The careers programme feeds into PSHE, being delivered in the same format, by form tutors, embedded in the ASPIRE programme, extending many of the living in the wider world topics whilst covering much of the necessary content to prepare students for work. Further details can be found on the careers rationale page.
How does our curriculum match the ambition of the National Curriculum?
Our curriculum matches the ambition of the National Curriculum to help young people stay healthy, safe and be prepared for life and work in modern Britain, whilst also helping them to achieve their academic potential.
We are also seeking to develop and raise the profile of PSHE across the curriculum through:
Subjects selecting at least two awareness days to deliver in class or as an assembly. For example, History deliver sessions about the Holocaust. Students are made aware that the lesson may blend with a PSHE theme/strand via use of the PSHE/ASPIRE logo, used at suitable times or points in the curriculum. HOD’s record this on a shared document, highlighting the subject and topic.
KS3 have a Signposting page in their Knowledge Organiser which tells them where to find information about various topics such as bullying, LGBTQ+, Child line, etc. Students are directed to this by Tutors and PSHE Leads via lessons and it is also added to their Google Classroom thus enabling students to seek help if they wish to do so.
Assemblies are used to deliver elements of PSHE which are then adapted to support current issues i.e. rail safety or are pre-planned focussing on an awareness days or weeks for example i.e. Pride. Assemblies are also used to deliver key safeguarding messages throughout the year from the Safeguarding Lead.
Students are assessed by completing baseline assessments before a topic. At the start of each lesson students answer retrieval questions. Staff assess learning when teaching, through use of question and answer, discussion, written work, debates, role plays etc. At the end of the topic a summative assessment is completed and compared to the baseline assessment. This shows the students' learning journey and progress from beginning to end.
How does the curriculum build on that from Key Stage 2?
Our curriculum naturally builds on the knowledge taught at KS2, particularly with regard to students making the right informed choices and consequences, being respectful to themselves and others, basic first aid, etc. At KS3 we build on this in more depth and develop their reasoning for their decisions. Continuing into KS4, ensuring key themes are revisited, extending learning in an age appropriate way.
By the end of Key Stage 3, what key knowledge should pupils need to remember and be able to apply in this subject?
At the end of KS3, students will have been taught about a range of topics from Them and us, Relationships, Health and wellbeing, Living in the wider world, learning to learn and careers. The concepts they have been exposed to that requires them to draw on and apply their conceptual knowledge will be developed in more depth at KS4 particularly in the world of work when they do Work experience.
Knowledge and application of all concepts and skills helps to prepare students for the demands of KS4 study by challenging their views and opinions in more detail when they use justification to help them make decisions.
To view the Smithdon Aspire Programme click here.