The importance of Personal Social and Health Education and Citizenship
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship help to give pupils the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active, responsible citizens. Pupils are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities and experiences across and beyond the curriculum, contributing fully to the life of their school and communities. In doing so they learn to recognise their own worth, develop high self-esteem, empathise and work well with others and become increasingly responsible for their own learning. They reflect on their experiences and understand how they are developing personally and socially, tackling many of the moral, social and cultural issues that are part of growing up. Pupils also find out about the main social institutions that affect their lives and about their responsibilities, rights and duties as individuals and members of communities. They learn to understand and respect our common humanity, diversity and differences so that they can go on to form the effective, fulfilling relationships that are an essential part of life and learning.
How PSHE is taught at DESS
Implicitly PSHE is taught in two separate teaching sessions through:
- One PSHE teaching slot (30 minutes)
- One Circle Time session (45 minutes)
PSHE themes are also addressed through Year Group and Key Stage assemblies.
SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) forms the basis of our PSHE programme and is taught through whole school themes which are built upon each year. The themes are:
Going for Goals
Good To Be Me
Through teaching the SEAL programme we hope to develop in our children the underpinning qualities and skills which will help them to manage life and learning effectively. By developing children's self-awareness and by assisting them in managing their feelings, motivation, empathy and social skills, we hope to prepare them for their futures and to equip them with the skills needed to become a life-long learner.
Circle Time is a timetabled activity which follows the '5 – Step model' (as advocated by Jenny Moseley). The main part of Circle Time involves a planned discussion where an important issue is discussed by the class. The class may work together to find a solution to a common problem or may coach someone in the group who needs help with a particular issue. Drama and role-play are sometimes used and, in younger year groups, puppets are a useful tool to recreate situations which the children may be familiar with. This weekly session gives rise to opportunities for speaking and listening, for developing self-awareness and empathy and respect for others. It allows children to build self-esteem and grow in confidence. It is a collective time for the whole class team; teachers and teaching assistants take an active role in the circle time process and are models for the children. Difficult questions are dealt with sympathetically and all participants have the right to 'pass' if they do not wish to contribute an idea. Circle Time is also an opportunity to celebrate the achievement and success of pupils, both in and out of the school environment.
PSHE in the Foundation Stage
In the foundation stage children also take part in weekly circle times, SEAL sessions and assemblies. PSED (personal, social and emotional development) in the foundation stage is one of the six areas of learning. It underpins everything that we do. Children are provided, on a daily basis, with experiences and support which help them to develop a positive sense of themselves and of others, respect for others, social skills and a positive disposition to learn.
The Golden Rules
Our school Golden Rules have been designed by staff and pupils to make our school a happy, positive and safe environment to learn and work in. It is essential that all members of staff endeavour to abide by the rules as well as all pupils. At the beginning of each year, pupils, parents and staff sign a 'contract' which states that they will try their best to follow the Golden Rules at all times. The Golden Rules are introduced and discussed during PSHE teaching time where children are encouraged to explore the meaning of each rule. They are also constantly reinforced by our rewards systems (children are rewarded for following the rules). When children break a rule, this is also pointed out and an appropriate sanction is given.
The Golden Rules for DESS are:
We are honest
We are gentle, kind and helpful
We work hard
We have a positive attitude
We respect each other and our school
We take responsibility for our behaviour and learning
Golden Time is an opportunity to celebrate achievement, good behaviour, positive attitudes and in essence, the adherence to the school Golden Rules. Golden Time is earned by individual classes; teachers respond to incidences of observed adherence to Golden Rules by allocating minutes of Golden Time. These can be allocated to the whole class though the efforts of individuals, groups of children or of the whole class. The aim is to encourage an individual sense of responsibility for themselves and for the collective team - it is a celebration of 'what we have done well' and is to be enjoyed by the whole class. However, in instances where teachers feel that it is warranted, individual pupils may miss all or part of Golden Time as part of step three of the sanctions process (see below).
Teachers use their discretion and professional judgement when sanctioning children. It is the teacher's responsibility to give clear guidelines for what are unacceptable behaviours and the sanctions (implicitly linked to the Golden Rules) which will apply if children choose to display them.
Below is a numbered list of 'steps' which a teacher should take if a pupil demonstrates unacceptable behaviour.
1. Verbal warning
2. Visual warning (smiley face/ sad face etc. Can be earned back)
3. Loss of privilege
If unacceptable behaviour continues over a period of time (e.g. on a number of occasions a child has reached step 3) then the following steps should be taken:
4. Head of Year
5. Parents contacted (if not contacted already)
6. Assistant Head/ Parents contacted again
7. Deputy Head/ Parents contacted again
8. Headmaster – final decision
Serious incidents of bad behaviour should be reported to Head of Year in the first instance.
Our rewards and sanctions systems are based on good communication between class teachers and subject teachers in order to create a clear message about the high standards of behaviour that are expected in school.