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PSHE at The Polygon School



PSHE is a programme of learning through which our pupils acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives.  At the Polygon School, we aim to underpin a student’s personal development as they progress through the key stages. As part of a whole-school approach and embedded within our curriculum, PSHE develops the qualities and attributes our pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members, and members of society;  helping them to build their identities, confidence, and self-esteem and understand what influences their decisions. Developing self-understanding, empathy and the ability to work with others will help our pupils to enjoy healthy and productive relationships in all aspects of their lives.

Through our rich and varied curriculum, pupils will be given opportunities to learn skills to develop effective relationships, assume greater personal responsibility and keep themselves safe. PSHE assists pupils to cope with sensitive issues such as bereavement and changes at puberty, it introduces them to a wider world and enables them to make an active contribution to their communities. A Well-Being/PSHE/SEAL programme of study has been developed to support pupils’ spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development. This is split into three core areas:

1. Health and Well Being

2. Relationships

3. Living in the Wider World




Our objective at key stages 3 and 4 is to not only adhere to the New 2020 PSHE curriculum but to also meet the very specific needs of pupils in our care at The Polygon School, a Southampton based school. We provide pupils with the knowledge requirements of the 2020 curriculum and beyond whilst also giving them the opportunities to develop strategies, skills and personal attributes to deal with the world they are living in currently and ‘crunch moments’ they will face in the future.   

Pupils start in year 7 with an introduction to developing the basic skills for PSHE lessons for example respect, teamwork, assertiveness, communication skills and sensitivity to the personal subject matter. Building trusting relationships and creating a safe space for pupils in PSHE is paramount.

We then use these building blocks as a stepping stone to explore personal and social issues in more depth for example from being able to identify and name emotions in year 7 to discussions around specific mental health issues like depression and anxiety as they move towards the end of KS3. In KS4 we take this further through completing an AQA Level 2 unit on mental health.  In KS3 we build knowledge from Primary PSHEand fill gaps and address misconceptions as they arise. By the time pupils reach year 9, we aim to have embedded the basic knowledge blocks, skills and personal attributes needed to explore more in-depth issues and age-related topics. Years 9-11 study an AQA level 2 qualification in Personal and Social Education alongside the new 2020 curriculum which also develops skills for post 16 education.




Entry Level 3 – Level 2 AQA Personal and Social Education

Units covered:

AQA – Drugs Education                       

AQA – Sex and relationships

AQA - Making Informed Career Choices

AQA - Applying for Jobs and Courses

AQA – Healthy lifestyles unit

AQA – Introduction to diversity, prejudice, and discrimination

AQA - Emotional Wellbeing




  • Pupils feeling safe and secure to discuss topics respectfully in PSHE lessons
  • Creative, practical lessons
  • Planned, structured and sequenced lessons which build on knowledge and address misconceptions
  • Use outside agencies and off-site trips to enhance teaching (No Limits, Life Lab, St John Ambulance, Theatre trips)
  • Qualified and trained staff who have regular CPD
  •  Adhere to school’s marking and feedback policy using Pixl marking technique
  • Clear assessment strategies through quizzes, draw and write and reflection slips at end of units
  • Undertaking AQA qualification and moderation in subject
  • Consistency in expectations of behaviour management in-line with school policy and PSHE code of conduct in lessons (on the wall in all classrooms where PSHE is taught).
  • Discussions in whole staff training and staff meetings
  • Weekly meetings with other PSHE department teaching staff to discuss planning and cross-curricular links
  • Attendance network meetings CPD across Southampton Schools
  • Cross-curricular opportunities within the school




As a key department within the school, we expect positive outcomes for our pupils both academically and socially so they are equipped for further education and wider society. We aim to see participation levels and engagement improve and progress to show in class books, AQA assessment folders, progress wall charts, the achievement of qualifications, and through emotional literacy checklists.