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Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education (PSHCE)

What is PSHCE?

An effective PSHCE programme can tackle barriers to learning, raise aspirations, and improve outcomes for students. Furthermore, it is a crucial part of effective safeguarding. Promoting physical and mental health in schools creates a virtuous circle reinforcing children’s attainment and achievement that in turn improves their wellbeing, enabling children to thrive and achieve their full potential. 

Core Aim

The world our children are growing up in offers huge possibilities but significant risks too and the academy's curriculum should prepare them for that world. The core aim of the PSHCE at TOA is to teach students how to be safe, physically and mentally healthy and to build self-esteem, resilience and empathy. This will impact on their academic attainment and attendance rates, as well as improve employability and boost social mobility.


Our vision is to equip our students with the skills and attributes, such as resilience, critical thinking and the ability to manage risk, which they will need throughout their adult lives. This will help them manage their lives now as well as preparing them to manage many of the critical opportunities, challenges and responsibilities they will face in modern Britain.

How is it taught?

PSHCE lessons are taught in tutor groups every two weeks, on a rolling programme and are taught by Heads of Year and members of the Senior Leadership Team. This allows a specialist team to be trained in the delivery of more complex and sensitive issues that arise from this curriculum area.

Designing the Curriculum

Our curriculum is highly responsive to changing evidence and reflects student voice. Firstly there is regular in-school liaison with the pastoral team. Secondly, we carry out bi-annual research into our students’ health, behaviour, values, beliefs and opinions. We use this information to update and inform our PSHCE curriculum planning.

The Curriculum across Key Stages 3 & 4:

Students are taught PSHCE in their form groups (mixed ability groups) for one hour per fortnight.

It is a spiral curriculum, with each year’s unit building and working towards the next unit. The curriculum broadly covers:

  • Understanding of how to keep themselves safe from relevant risks such as abuse, sexual exploitation and extremism, including when using the internet and social media.

  • Employability skills so that they are well prepared for the next stage of their education, employment, self-employment or training.

  • Knowledge of how to keep themselves healthy, both emotionally and physically, including through exercising and healthy eating.

  • Personal development, so that they are well prepared to respect others and contribute to wider society and life in Britain.


The PSHCE Curriculum Map

  • Relationships and Sex education

  • Health and Well-being

  • Living in the wider world

  • Information, Advice and Guidance

  • Financial Education


Relationships and Sex Education

From September 2020 all schools are required to teach RSE (Relationships and Sex Education). It is important to note that TOA will be teaching this in an age appropriate methodology, sticking closely to national and subject body guidance as well as locally recommended best practice. “Relationship” education has always been taught in schools, and does not just cover sexual relations but many other relationships such as friendships, bullying and the idea of ‘professional relationships’. TOA will stick to a ‘thematic’ approach, focussing on three key themes and developing them as pupils progress through school:  Health and Wellbeing  Living in the Wider World  Relationships ‘Relationships’ will be taught in term 3 and 6 of each year group, with compulsory ‘sex education’ being covered in term 6 of Year 9 only. The lessons are taught fortnightly, in most cases by pupils’ head of year. If their head of year does not teach them we have ensured that an experienced teacher is timetabled to teach the lessons to reflect the importance of PSHCE at TOA. The subject will be taught in line with our inclusive and caring values. The school’s values are of a Christian nature but we will ensure that pupils from families of all faiths and none will all have equal opportunities to learn and engage and that teachers are sensitive to this including specific special educational needs. This fulfils our statutory requirements in the Equality Act (2010). The subject is monitored in the same way that other lessons are and is treated exactly the same as a ‘normal’ lesson with normal TOA expectations. It is important that we make the rights of parents / carers explicitly clear: Parents MAY NOT have the right to remove pupils from PSHCE lessons. ALL PSHCE lessons are mandatory for all pupils. However, parents / carers are entitled to request that their child does not attend specific sex education lessons. We have identified term 6 of Year 9 where a very small number of parents may wish to exercise this right. If you wish to withdraw your child from Year 9 term 6’s sex education lessons then we ask that you write a letter addressed to the Headteacher and attend a short meeting to discuss it; we will then provide appropriate alternate provision.

NB: We envision that the vast majority of parents will not feel the need to exercise this right and agree with us that sex education, taught appropriately and sensitively, is an important (and indeed obligatory) part of the PSHCE curriculum. 

For more information please refer to the Department of Education white paper: Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education (February 2019)  

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