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 personal 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 Life and Wellbeing Curriculum (Well-Being/PSHE/SEAL/Citizenship) has been developed to uniquely support our pupils’ spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development. In PSHE we have identified the needs of pupils and split the curriculum into six core areas:
Our objective at key stages 3 and 4 is to not only adhere to the New 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 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 the ‘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 as they move towards the end of KS3. In KS4 we take this further through tackling more sensitive subjects requiring a higher level of maturity and applying those skills acquired in KS3. We repeat key topics like Consent and Online safety in every year group looking at consent and communication and consent and the law for each year group. Curriculum ladders have been developed to show the progression of each unit across key stages 3-4.
The curriculum developed aims to equip pupils with essential skills for life; it intends to develop the whole child through carefully planned and resourced lessons and using guest speakers and trips to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes pupils need to protect and enhance their wellbeing. We also celebrate whole school events for example Polygon Pride, Anti–Bullying Odd Socks Day, Black History Month and more (See additional sheet of speakers and training). Lessons have their foundations in seeing each and everybody’s value in society, from the appreciation of others in topics like Rights and Responsibilities to promoting strong and positive views of self in All about me. PSHE topics aim to cover a wide range of the social and emotional aspects of learning, enabling pupils to develop their identity and self-esteem as active, confident members, of their community. The topics support social, moral, spiritual and cultural development and provide pupils with protective teaching on essential safeguarding issues, developing their knowledge of when and how they can ask for help.
The Polygons PSHE and Life and Wellbeing Curriculum (Well-Being /PSHE/SEAL/Citizenship) are in line with the Learning Outcomes and Core Themes provided by the PSHE Association Programme of Study. The scheme of work fulfils the requirements of 2020 Statutory Relationships and Health Education, setting these learning intentions in the context of a broad and balanced PSHE curriculum.
Assessment for learning opportunities are built into each lesson and enhanced by the ‘How am I doing?’ checklists developed to help pupils review their progress at the end of each unit. This checklist also signposts further help and advice for pupils online and in person. This also helps teachers to identify gaps in learning missed through illness due to Covid. The ‘How am I doing?’ records included in each unit, enable self-evaluation and reflective learning and allow teachers to evaluate and assess progress. Each lesson begins with a discussion of children’s existing knowledge and experience, providing an opportunity for baseline assessment. Each lesson ends with an opportunity to consolidate and reflect upon learning.
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 classwork, AQA assessment folders (Ends Aug 2021), How am I doing? Checklists and through emotional literacy checklists.
The PSHE scheme of work provides an effective curriculum for wellbeing. Pupils are enabled to develop the vocabulary and confidence needed to clearly articulate their thoughts and feelings in a climate of openness, trust and respect, and know when and how they can seek the support of others. They will apply their understanding of society to their everyday interactions, from the classroom to the wider community of which they are a part. The Polygons PSHE scheme of work supports the active development of a school culture that prioritises physical and mental health and wellbeing, providing children with skills to evaluate and understand their own wellbeing needs, practise self-care and contribute positively to the wellbeing of those around them.
Successful PSHE education can have a positive impact on the whole child, including their academic development and progress, by mitigating any social and emotional barriers to learning and building confidence and self-esteem. Evidence suggests that successful PSHE education also helps disadvantaged and vulnerable children achieve to a greater extent by raising aspirations and empowering them with skills to overcome barriers they face. We believe our curriculum at The Polygon meets our pupils complex needs and have the repetitiveness around key topics like consent to embed essential information to go with them into adulthood.
Through communication with parents through the school website, school blog and in person we hope to give our parents the confidence to signpost advice and resources for pupils and have an understanding of the delivery of our curriculum. Pre Covid19 during target review day’s parents completed surveys on the new curriculum and diamond 9 activities to give their views on topics. This was an essential tool in moulding the curriculum to meet the needs of Polygon pupils. This academic year Mrs Foster aims to set up a Parents forum for PSHE ideally in person that can develop workshops to help skill up parents on topics to help support pupils at home.