PSHEE and RSE
PSHEE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education)
Through PSHEE lessons we are doing a lot to educate your child in ways to deal with life’s challenges. This includes helping them to deal with critical issues they face every day such as friendships, emotional wellbeing and change. From making informed decisions about alcohol to succeeding in their first job, Warwick School’s PSHEE programme is designed to help our pupils prepare for all of the opportunities, challenges, life decisions and responsibilities they will face. We hope that this in turn will achieve a virtuous circle, whereby our pupils have better health and wellbeing, meaning they can achieve better academically and enjoy greater success.
PSHEE is taught to pupils in all year groups. Curriculum lessons are complimented by assemblies, chapel services and talks from external speakers. It is a spiral programme, meaning that we revisit key themes at several points as pupils progress from Y7 to Upper Sixth, but with greater depth as pupils’ maturity develops. We try to cover all of the PSHE Association’s suggested learning outcomes in each key stage, but we focus especially on issues that experience has taught us are particularly important for our pupils.
You can see further details about what your child will cover in the curriculum in the PSHEE Policy, and additionally in the outline PSHEE schemes of work for each year group (see attachments at the bottom of this webpage).
RSE (Relationships and Sex Education)
Within the PSHEE curriculum, a key component that we return to several times is Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). The RSE component of our PSHEE curriculum teaches our pupils about the different physical, social and emotional aspects of growing up, relationships and sexuality. The aim is to provide our pupils with the skills and knowledge they need to have safe, fulfilling relationships, take responsibility for their sexual health, and feel secure and happy in their sexuality. It also helps them to develop resilience, independence and self-esteem.
RSE helps to prepare our pupils for changes like puberty and the transition into adult life. We also try to provide a secure environment where our pupils can feel comfortable asking questions they might not want to ask elsewhere. Through RSE, our pupils can learn to better understand their needs, respect the needs of others, and improve their overall confidence.
A key objective of our RSE programme is for the older pupils to learn about sex within the context of positive, healthy relationships, rather than as simply a physical act of gratification. We hope to help them to understand how to safely form and maintain relationships, to recognise the characteristics of healthy relationships, and to understand how relationships may affect physical and mental health and well-being. We also want the pupils to know that they should feel no pressure to have sex until they (and any partner) feel completely ready.
You may find that these lessons are a useful starting point for you to have further conversations with your child about relationships and sex. If you would like further guidance about how to talk to your child about physical intimacy, the NHS has produced a very good booklet.
Parents have the right (under the 1993 Education Act) to withdraw their children from all or part of the sex education part of the RSE programme up until three terms before their child turns 16. After that, it is the child’s decision. Parents should contact the Head to discuss this. Parents cannot withdraw their child from the relationships education component of RSE or the health education topics. Pupils who are withdrawn from sex education will receive appropriate, purposeful education during the withdrawal period.
Protective Behaviours (Year 7 and Year 8)
In tutor time, Year 7 and Year 8 pupils learn about Protective Behaviours. This is a programme which is used in schools across Warwickshire and really compliments the work we do in PSHEE lessons. Protective Behaviours is a framework for personal safety that aims to foster confidence, problem solving skills, empathy and emotional intelligence. It links safety with taking the right kind of risks to build resilience.
Since we introduced Protective Behaviours last year, we have found that it has been extraordinarily useful in helping our pupils to identify how they and others are feeling, and then equipping them with strategies they can proactively use if they feel unsafe, for example if they feel they are being bullied or if they are feeling low or angry. The programme offers positive messages about pupils’ rights as well as the need for empathy and consideration towards others.
Protective Behaviours is based on two key themes:
- We all have the right to feel safe all the time.
- We can talk with someone about anything even if it feels awful or small.
In fortnightly tutor sessions, pupils learn practical approaches to keeping themselves safe. We aim to give pupils space to talk about emotions and personal safety at a time when they might find this difficult and when we know that in terms of their developing brains, they are far more likely to be inclined towards risky behaviour.
All Year 7 and Year 8 form tutors at Warwick School have received training on Protective Behaviours and all Warwick School staff have been introduced to the principles and language of Protective Behaviours to ensure that terms and strategies are understood across the school. Below are some of the key terms that we use in Protective Behaviours. We have found these very useful when supporting and talking to pupils about their safety.
Protective Behaviours key terms:
- “Personal Network” – a network of trusted adults in and out of school, who pupils have identified that they could seek out if they felt unsafe.
- “Early Warning Signs”- these are physical signs that we feel unsafe, e.g. sweaty hands, feeling sick, dizziness.
- “Protective Interruption” – anything we do to keep ourselves or others safe from potential or actual harm, e.g. removing yourself from a conversation or situation that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- “Risking on Purpose”- when you challenge yourself to do something, even if it gives you Early Warning Signs because you think that the outcome is worth it.
- “One Step Removed” – exploring familiar and challenging scenarios using characters, to help people to think about situations in a more objective way.
- “The Language of Safety”- re-framing our language into an empowering, non-victimising and non-violent format which is consistent with the Protective Behaviours process.
In addition to the information here, you can access further information about the Protective Behaviours themes and strategies on the Protective Behaviours website.
In addition to PSHEE, we have five pastoral weeks across the year. In each one we focus on a key whole-school theme.
- Show Racism the Red Card Week
- Anti-Bullying Week
- Children’s Mental Health Week
- Gender Equality Week
- Diversity Week
The assemblies, chapel services and form periods that take place in the designated week are focused on this theme. The aim is to create awareness of the issue, develop empathy for others, and help pupils to understand how they can be upstanders and challenge discriminatory behaviour. These weeks really compliment issues covered in PSHEE lessons.
Parent Pastoral Forums
At the beginning of every year we have run several parent education talks as part of our ‘Meet the Tutor’ Evenings for pupils entering a new section of the school:
- Lower School parents (Y7) receive a talk from our foundation Head of IT Jenny Parkinson-Mills on digital parenting.
- Middle School parents (Y8) receive a talk from Chip Somers on alcohol and addiction.
- Upper School parents (Y10) receive a talk from our Educational Psychologist Dr Craig Joyce on emotion coaching.
- Sixth Form parents (Lower Sixth) receive a talk from Solicitor Russell Robinson on the law and the various pitfalls Sixth formers can, sometimes unwittingly, fall into.
In addition, we are working closer than ever before with our foundation partner schools to offer a range of online “Parent Pastoral Forum” talks to parents of pupils across the foundation. We’ll send out links to these talks in the school newsletter.