PSHE? What on Earth is that?
Surely not yet another fancy educational acronym?!
Well, yes, but…. Actually this one stands for something really important and rather exciting! You may not have heard much about it, in spite of its importance. Let me tell you about PSHE in our school.
PSHE – Personal, Social and Health Education. It’s a package of vital knowledge and skills for our children– a toolkit for coping with real life.
It includes a huge range of subjects such as keeping safe, relationships, managing feelings, healthy eating, making sensible choices, and respect for others, plus a firmgrounding in the basic values of which we would all approve. In fact, without a good grasp of PSHE principles, it is difficult to imagine our children achieving the happy, fulfilled, independent and healthy, adulthood that we all would wish for them; as useful members of society, able to make and enjoy good relationships and to make sensible decisions.
I’ve had to learn about it recently because I’m now the school governor who has to keep an eye on how PSHE is being taught. The last few weeks have been a real eye-opener for me. I just had not realised how much careful planning, preparation and effort goes in to teaching the many aspects of PSHE. Just take a look at the School Website and find the Four Year Rolling Programme (click the blue “What we learn” tab and it is at the bottom of the page in red writing. PSHE is in yellow on pages 3 and 4 of the programme.) This term the topic throughout the school has been Drug Education. Mrs Gilbert (who is in charge of PSHE) and I did a “Learning Walk” observation of Drug Education lessons throughout the school last month. It was fascinating and I was very impressed. I wish that I, and my own children, had received lessons such a those we observed.
Let me give you the flavour of it with just one of the highlights. In Kenwyn Mr Anjari was exploring with the children what makes something legal versus illegal. The class were asked, “What is a Law, anyway?” Theo’s hand went up after a few seconds of reflection. “A law is a Golden Rule for the whole country,” he said. Spot on, Theo!
But that is only part of it. PHSE is much more than just the set pieces in the programme. Much of it is taught unobtrusively, every day, in every lesson, at school camp, in the assemblies, the clubs, the teams and the class room displays. It is delivered opportunistically by motivated staff sharing a common set of values. It happenswhenever a small disagreement is resolved, or there is encouragement to share, to help, to do as you would be done by, to see things from another’s point of view, or to try harder at something new and difficult.
I’m biased I know. I have thought, for a long time, that our school is a wonderful place with an outstanding team of teachers and TAs.
Now I have found yet another area, rather an unsung, “Cinderella” subject in spite of its importance, which is being brilliantly and skilfully taught at Constantine!
School Governor for PSHE