Physical, Social, Health, Careers Education (PSHCE) is not an isolated curricular area. To be successful it needs to be embedded in all subjects so students can make connections with the world around us to aid their personal development.  This underpins cross-curricular threads and breaks barriers or stereotypes, and creates opportunities for students to view learning as something other than subjects delivered in boxed time slots during a school day but as an evolving part of everyday life.  The PSHCE and RSHE policy was produced in consultation with Pastoral Leaders, parents/carers, Governors and pupils.

Our overall aims; 

  • To provide a firm understanding of real issues that contribute to the health and wellbeing of young people
  • To educate students with the knowledge of what is acceptable in our society and giving them the knowledge to keep themselves and others safe
  • To encourage students to gain independence and take responsibility for the care and wellbeing of themselves and those close to them
  • To prepare our pupils for their future in a variety of roles such as; parents, valuable citizens, employees and leaders
  • To foster a love of learning that extends lessons and encourages pupils to make a difference within the local community surrounding issues they see as important
  • To enhance understanding of subjects and concerns that may be labelled as a challenging topic with an aim to educate and make a difference. Our students will be given facts and encouraged to make independent decisions. 

 PSHCE lessons are seen as a distinct lesson by students and teachers and are kept interesting. This enables progression through the strands and allows teachers to be more responsive to the needs of the group. Where there is a pastoral need the lessons can be adapted to respond to or pre-empt a year group challenge. We are delighted to take this opportunity to have visiting facilitators where possible to enhance learning opportunities, previously these have included Roshni, MedMinds and Teenage Cancer Trust. The delivery of the content will be accessible to all pupils, including those with SEND via the SENCO by making staff aware of the learning needs through sharing the pupil profiles in school. Where needed the SENCO carries out observations to assess further support strategies and communicates to staff during briefings and emails.  There are opportunities, where relevant, for SEND pupils to have smaller or individual taught sessions to suit their learning need.

As always, this year lessons will evolve and adapt in response to a series of pupil voice, pastoral leader input, PSHE Association guidance, resources that are released by creditable organisations and the ever-changing world around us.

The Young Wellbeing Leads. 

The Young Wellbeing Leads, YWBLs, are an ever changing and reflecting group of young pupils with a passion for wellbeing. Their work includes assemblies, newsletter articles and their presence around school with a purple lanyard. YWBL’ s are led by the Subject Leader for PSHCE, working closely and contributing to and leading pupils voice activities. They complement the PSHCE curriculum through bespoke workshops   on a range of issues identified by the Pastoral Team. Previous workshops have included; Belonging, Managing Friendships and organisation.  To create personalised support the YWBLs also offer 1:1 wellbeing support for pupils who have been referred by their Pastoral Leader. YWBL’s have been trained by experts at the Anna Freud Centre and are a unique asset to the school in providing such support. We were delighted to be the first school to be invited to the Anna Freud Centre this year

Some YWBL reflections form the trip; 

I found the trip to the Anna Freud centre very informative and fun. I think that hearing other YWBLs talk about our common struggles and how they overcome them was really inspiring and gave me more motivation with jobs around the school. I also think it gave us time to bond as a team and look forward to new steps and plans for the future to improve wellbeing at our school. I really enjoyed the cake as well as learning more about wellbeing and the Anna Freud centre as a whole.

Maya, Year 10.

Going on the trip to the Anna Freud Centre helped the Young Wellbeing Team bond and work together. It was a brilliant opportunity and we have all gained something from this trip! Learning about what more we can incorporate into the school to improve overall student wellbeing was invigorating. We also took some time to celebrate the hard work of our team which was extremely rewarding for all of us. This trip taught us that great things can be achieved when we all work together!

Amelia, Year 10. 

I found the trip to the Anna Freud Centre very exciting, as well as insightful! During the day, we reflected on our own experiences as Young Wellbeing Leads and thought of ways to overcome the challenges that we often encounter as Wellbeing mentors, such as communication with mentees during 1:1 sessions, and taking care of our own mental health. In addition, we discussed ways to improve wellbeing and mental health support within school. It has inspired me to help others around school when they are stressed or anxious, perhaps during exam periods- and to be more involved in improving our support system in school. Overall, the day was very enjoyable, despite the typical rainy London weather!

Amrissa, Year 13

A reflection from a mentee is below, this was shared with pupils via the school newsletter. 

‘Coming into this school as an external (Yr 12 Sixth Former), I always knew there were going to be challenges to face but that’s how we grow as individuals. One of the issues I faced was friendship. This can be a common thing to many people but people come and go within life and we have to accept that. Whilst I was struggling with this issue at school, it took a toll on my mental health and affected my learning in lessons and I stayed quiet about this for a couple of weeks until it was time to speak to a teacher. I was very hesitant to even consider speaking to an adult/ staff because I was afraid the consequences will become bigger. But in this case, I had to otherwise I would’ve been stuck being upset in a difficult situation. Hence I emailed a pastoral member and we instantly spoke the next day and just listened to my problems.

I was then directed to a peer mentor in Yr 13 and she was so lovely as soon as we talked I don’t know but I felt comfortable in letting everything out. All she did was listen and listening can always be the best thing to do when it comes to struggling to speak out about your issues. In form times we would talk and every time we meet sometimes she would give me advice and it helped so much. Now I stand in a better place than before and am happy with the new friendships I have made and honestly I am so grateful that I met my peer. She said if there were any problems, just text me and I’ll come to you and talk. That right there felt amazing to hear, knowing there were actually people available to spend their own time and help you. Truly it is a great aspect of having in life and something I am very appreciative of.

From this experience, I would advise that if any problems occur don’t ever be shy to talk to a member of staff or even prefects and this applies to all people in every year. people may be thinking well what if I regret but honestly, I didn’t regret one bit of making that email. So grateful and I feel so inspired by my mentor, so Thank you.’

Year 12 Pupil 

Advance Picture News

On Monday all pupils take part in a Form Time session led by Form Prefects, the session are designed to be thought-provoking, leading to discussions, debates and creative writing. We place a great deal of emphasis on learning from the news (as well as about). The resources use key news events that have recently taken place allowing opportunities for pupils to develop confidence in their ideas and beliefs whilst demonstrating respect for the ideas and beliefs of others.

Reflections form a Year 8 PSHCE pupil

‘PSHCE, in my opinion, is one of the most important subjects when it comes to informing students about life. Although home life and experience teach us some things, I found that it was much more effective when I learnt some of the knowledge that I needed for later on in my life through my PSHCE lessons and my (lovely and approachable) teachers.

During my lessons, I have covered a wide variety of subjects, ranging from mental health and the changes of the body, all the way to healthy relationships with family/friends. These lessons have taught me about how exactly the decisions I make in the future affect me, empathy, and how to value the things that I have. Controversial subjects such as going into detail about LGBTQ+, discrimination, and consent are also covered with the utmost care for the comfort of us all, and there is never a time where people feel that they are unable to talk to their teacher about something they feel uncomfortable about.

PSHCE isn’t just a serious place though, it’s a place to make us feel comfortable with the things taught to us, and a safe, loving environment where we work in tandem with each other, whether it’s to figure out the origin of a stereotype or to figure out why our teacher had used the name Bob in the scenario they had given us!

Either way, you can never go wrong with PSHCE….’

Curriculum and Assessment Maps

Click here to see the PSHCE policy which includes content taught for each year group

Further information

A range of staff, including Pupil Achievement Leaders and members of the Senior Leadership Team teach the remainder of the curriculum, specialising in a specific subject area.

Subject Leader: Mrs A Pettit

Senior Leader Link: Mrs J Kendall

PSHCE is not an isolated curricular area. To be successful it needs that symbiotic relationship with other areas, and in doing so continues to make connections for students so that they begin to experience the interdependence of, for example, the political climate, gender roles, available media, literary influences on their personal development.  This underpins cross-curricular threads and breaks barriers or stereotypes, and creates opportunities for students to view learning as something other than subjects delivered in boxed time slots during a school day and as an evolving part of everyday life.

We as parents and teachers have a duty, not just to explore the familiar, but to broaden horizons, create opportunities for students to understand the contribution the past has on the present and the context in which events have been created. PSHCE has a significant contribution to make in this journey.

We need to ensure that education supports students in being the best they can be in all aspects of life. Our young women will go on to support and grow with the community they inhabit and so the PSHCE curriculum at Handsworth is broad and balanced to enable our girls to acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives, now and in the future.

PSHCE encompasses 4 strands:

  • Sex and Relationships- personal wellbeing, healthy living , risk and relationships
  • Personal Identity- personal identity, pressures, media portrayal and diversity
  • Economic wellbeing -career, capability, risk and economic  understanding
  • Citizenship-examines democracy and justice, rights and responsibilities, identities and diversity: living together in the UK

Parents can support the teaching of PSHCE by keeping up to date with the curriculum and encouraging their child to have an open mind when learning about issues that are new to them.

With a rapidly growing virtual world that is part of our everyday lives it is important to keep up to date with social media. Having conversations with your child about what is appropriate use considering time, language and media.

  • Consider the life events you, your family or friends have experienced.
  • From marriage to childbirth, career change to relocation, love and bereavement.
  • Life throws so many events at us and whilst some we can plan and prepare for, others can be unexpected and sometimes a shock. PSHCE supports pupils in dealing with many life events. Parents can support their child by talking to them about what they are learning, making links between lessons and real life, strengthening the value of their learning through discussion and debate.

Pupils are asked for feedback on the PSHCE provision and the PSHCE Subject Leader collaborates with the Pastoral Leaders to ensure that any concerns that arise through the year, can be addressed immediately or built into the planning process for the next academic year. The PSHCE Subject Leader follows recommendations from the PSHE Association and statutory requirements which may involve amendments to schemes of learning each year.

The roles of Young Wellbeing Leads are advertised when needed, usually throughout the academic year. If a pupil would like to learn more about the role of the YWBL’s they should come along to one of their events or extra curricular clubs and ask those wearing a pupils tag. 

Next Generation Awards- Year 9

Working closely with the Civic Society for the Next Generation Awards we support pupils to consider how they can develop their locality for the better. This involves a series of extra curricular sessions run in school. We believe children have important contributions to make towards the development of Birmingham. This award programme provides a means for them to make those contributions, drawing their attention to the fact that they are the future citizens of Birmingham and that their ideas, hopes and expectations do matter. They must conduct research and develop proposals for actions that would improve some aspect of life in the future. The scheme asks pupils to work in teams to identify issues and trends affecting people in their community, student work in small groups within forms and create presentation exploring the issues. Peers elect one group per form to make their presentation to a member of the Civic Society. We are delighted to have had many success with the NGA  and look forward to this years competition.