Earlier this week on the blog, we discussed our belief that subjects such as citizenship and PSHE are vital to a full and engaging curriculum, and that thanks to the new education inspection framework, these subjects are now becoming a greater priority for schools.

With that in mind, we spoke with Madeleine Fitzpatrick, Subject Leader for Citizenship/PSHE at Falinge Park High School in Rochdale. Having shared her thoughts on Citizenship in our previous blog, here she covers Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education.

Beginning by telling us why PSHE is such an important part of the curriculum, she said: “A PSHE teacher, Sophie McPhee, recently said PSHE is about the ‘other 16 hours’; those hours where the academic study of their future job is over for the day. It is those other 16 hours that PSHE prepares students for.

“We want students to be healthy and functioning adults. PSHE gives the students support mechanisms so that they can flourish in their academic studies, but thrive in their transition to young adulthood.”

Continuing, Madeleine went on to discuss what she feels should be taken into consideration when devising intent in a PSHE curriculum: “PSHE should be proactive and responsive. There is no set national curriculum for PSHE, which means the school’s PSHE curriculum can be bespoke to any school and it should be. PSHE should take into account the context of the school; the opinions, experience and needs of students to inform the curriculum, and also the national picture of health and wellbeing, enterprise and relationships. We use student voice to gain a picture of student need and their knowledge. This helps to build the context of our students. We take support from the PSHE association who give us a national picture for PSHE. Finally, our curriculum is responsive. It is important to realise any PSHE curriculum must acknowledge that there will always be events to react to and PSHE must allow students to talk about events or topical issues of a controversial nature in a safe and secure environment, where they will receive reliable information with effective coping strategies.

She concluded by explaining what she feels a quality curriculum in PSHE should look like: “A quality curriculum should take into account health and wellbeing in all of its facets. Give time to physical, emotional and mental health. It should address students’ enterprise skills, aspirations and future careers, signposting them to success. Even without the introduction of statutory relationship and sex education, students should be introduced to exploring relationships with friends and family, as well as those of a romantic and sexual nature. They should be made aware of the myths of relationships, how to spot a negative and coercive relationship, along with the basics of what a healthy relationship looks like. Throughout the curriculum, pupils should receive strong signposts for help and more information on issues discussed. A quality PSHE curriculum will make signposting an integral part of their students’ knowledge and allow students to evolve into seeking out their own support. In terms of skills, pupils should consider their personal effectiveness, their interpersonal effectiveness, and managing risk and decision making. There are no exam results in this subject, the success in our curriculum comes if, on results day, they arrive healthy and happy with a plan for the following September.”

Head to the B11 blog to read our previous posts in this series and follow B11 on Twitter and LinkedIn to ensure you don’t miss the next one.



Please share this post