PSHE – Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education:
PSHE is an essential part of each child’s education at St Mary’s. We strive to enable each child to be successful and happy as they journey through primary school and beyond.
Teachers follow the Barnardos PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies) Programme for Schools, which includes four conceptual units: Emotional Understanding, Self-Control, Social Problem-Solving and Peer Relations and Self-Esteem. Lessons are delivered at least once a week and may cover anything from friendship and feeling lonely (Year 2), to making good decisions (Year 3) or conflict resolution (Year 6). Studies show that the PATHS programme results in improved concentration and attention and better social and emotional competence.
In addition to PATHS lessons, each class has a daily Pupil of the Day, who is chosen at random. The Pupil of the Day wears a sticker and may be granted other privileges by their teacher (such as standing at the front of the line). At the end of the day, the Pupil of the Day is given compliments by their teacher and some of their classmates. This routine allows the children to practice giving and receiving compliments, encourages them to see the best in each other, and builds self-esteem.
RSE (Relationship and Sex Education) is an important part of PSHE and became a statutory element of the National Curriculum in September 2020. RSE should prepare children for “the challenges of creating a happy and successful adult life” by giving them knowledge “that will enable them to make informed decisions about their wellbeing, health and relationships” (DFE Statutory Guidance). In line with the school’s strong Catholic ethos, St Mary’s uses the Life to Full RSE programme for Catholic primary schools which embraces and fulfils the new statutory curriculum. The programme includes age-appropriate teaching about personal health, physical and emotional wellbeing, the body, personal relationships, family structures, trusted adults, growing bodies, life cycles, the dangers of social media, an understanding of the Common Good and living in the wider world. The entire teaching is underpinned with a religious understanding that our deepest identity is as a child of God – created chosen and loved by God. The programme is fully inclusive of all pupils and their families.
PSHE is also often taught in conjunction with other subjects such as science and PE (keeping healthy), RE (personal identity, respecting others) and even maths (money and personal finances) as we endeavour to provide a rounded education for each pupil.