How Medlar with Wesham Church of England Primary School redesigned its PSHE curriculum
Gareth Allen is the headteacher at Medlar with Wesham Church of England Primary School, a one-form entry primary school built around the Christian values it was founded on in 1880. In the following piece, Allen discusses how the school reinvented its PSHE provision.
When redesigning our PSHE curriculum in September 2020, we built on the foundations laid in our early years curriculum, ensuring it is sequenced within and between Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, using the PSHE Association Thematic Programme Builder as our basis from which to tailor our bespoke PSHE curriculum.
We ensured our curriculum built on prior learning and looked at aspects missed during the lockdown in previous year groups.
Our school gospel values underpin our PSHE curriculum and we also meet statutory requirements, by ensuring pupils are offered a balanced curriculum designed to meet their needs.
To achieve this we utilise relevant local data and school information (such as CPOMS and attendance) related to relationships/health/PSHE education to inform planning and to address the identified needs of the whole school community.
We also use health needs assessment surveys, health LSIP (which includes the school's NCMP weighing and measuring data for reception and year 6 pupils), and public health data on road traffic accidents, attendance at A&E, alcohol and drug use, social deprivation, family life, career and life chances.
At the start of the year class teachers carry out a "Gathering pupil’s views" lesson based on the PSHE Association lesson model to ensure they can meet the needs of their class during the coming academic year.
Pupils have opportunities to review and reflect on their learning during lessons through different activities as teachers incorporate assessment for learning and opportunities for pupils to reflect on what the learning means for their own lives.
"Stepping back into School" was written in September 2020 by the Lancashire County Council Specialist Teaching Service Lancashire, and helped us design lessons and support classes across the school.
It also enabled teachers to approach some of the most sensitive subject areas that have arisen in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as self-esteem, anxiety and bereavement.
The teaching and learning activities were used in the whole class setting and also in a small group capacity by the Learning Mentor.
By meeting the needs of each cohort our children responded well to the redesigned PSHE curriculum and the impact was that the children developed a greater tolerance for each other and the needs of certain children in their classes throughout the year.
The use of a common language such as "self regulate", "calm areas", and "mood monsters" has become common practice – helping our children to deal with their emotions and avoid disruptions to teaching and learning in the classroom.
Since September 2020 we have bought into the Trinity Hospice Listening Service which provided training for staff on how to manage workload and covid related stress, attended by all the staff who needed this support.
The listening service also provides one on one counselling sessions for staff who feel they need time to talk to someone on an individual basis and this has been taken up by a three members of staff during this academic year.
Reverend Anne also provides pastoral support for all our staff should they wish to go and talk to her about their well being or problems they feel they are facing – be it school or family/home life related she acts as an impartial listener offering advice where necessary.
Before the above measures were introduced the state of mental health of our staff and children was perhaps similar to it is now. However in my opinion what the redesign of the curriculum and support put in place for both children and adults has allowed us to do is help to minimise the impact of mental health issues and has given members of our school community the tools with which to help deal with circumstances of COVID-19 and other set backs as they arise.