Championing PSHE awareness-raising in schools and at home

What is the role of personal, health and social education in our schools? When it comes to preparing children for their future PHSE is essential to ensuring that they are well-prepared.

Brooke Priory School, an independent preparatory school for pupils aged two to 11, in Oakham, Rutland, champions PSHE awareness-raising. We learned more about their work with 1decision and a recent workshop for parents and other schools run by headmaster Roger Outwin-Flinders.

Brooke Priory School - Roger Outwin-Flinders

On May 22 Brooke Priory School staged an event for its parents and other local schools to raise awareness of the importance of personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE).

Hosted by headmaster Roger Outwin-Flinders in collaboration with PSHE experts 1decision – part of Headway learning resources, which delivers programmes for five to 11-year-olds in schools across 31 counties in the UK. Attendees learned more about 1decision and Brooke Priory’s plans for developing its PSHE curriculum for the 2018-19 academic year.

Embedded in the curriculum

Last year the school appointed a new PSHE subject leader, Melissa Gatenby, and launched the Brooke 30 challenge programme which gives pupils the opportunity to experience 30 different initiatives during Year 6 at Brooke Priory in preparation for their transition to senior school. Both the 1decision and Brooke 30 programmes actively encourage and engage the support of parents.

PSHE is becoming an increasingly important subject on the curriculum for Brooke Priory, and there is a desire to reach out to parents and other schools, Roger says. “PSHE encompasses a wide range of issues, many of which are very emotive, which parents and teachers have traditionally found difficult to approach,” he explains.

“However, we have a duty to prepare our pupils for secondary school and later life. We should not pretend that issues such as drugs, bullying and online grooming do not prevail here in Rutland, as well as mental health, stress and anxiety. We need to educate pupils to help them identify these issues and, where possible, to avoid and overcome problems, upskilling the children for the changing world. The key to PSHE success is bringing parents on the journey with us. We are all in it for the children, to do our best for them.”

Roger, who is also an Independent schools Inspectorate (ISI) inspector, and a governor at two independent preparatory schools, went on to praise 1decision. “1decision is the most hard-hitting PSHE learning resource I have seen,” he says. “It gives pupils choices on how they would tackle or respond to certain scenarios. So many educational programmes do not allow pupils to think enough for themselves, but this one does and that ethos is extended to teaching staff. At Brooke Priory we want to utilise the best resources we can find in the sector and share these with other schools. 1decision pulls no punches, and this is exactly what is needed.”

Brooke Priory School - pupils2

“It is important that teachers, parents and children themselves are aware of the potential dangers they face and that effective and outcome-driven PSHE resources are available to support schools,” Hayley Sherwood, founder of 1decision, adds. “In my experience, every child who receives age-appropriate PSHE lessons will emerge as a better learner. Education is at the heart of the bigger picture. We need to equip children with the vocabulary, understanding and confidence to speak out; that way, they will know what to do if they come across something they think is wrong.”

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1decision is the UK’s first primary programme to receive the PSHE Association Quality Mark. Its modules span personal safety, health and wellbeing, statutory relationships and sex education, British values, the working world, feelings and emotions, online safety, healthy relationships and media influences. Hosting over 65 videos with alternative endings, 1decision empowers children to make choices in order to keep the featured characters safe and healthy, alongside teacher lesson plans, on-screen lesson guides, student workbooks and assessments.

Roger Outwin-Flinders spoke exclusively to Independent Leader following the event:

What is the importance of empowering children with an education that goes beyond the academic?

An outstanding education should always go beyond the boundaries of pure academia. As educators of children, we have a duty to prepare them for a changing world giving them the skills, experiences and confidence to make the correct decisions to lead happy and successful lives and be a part of their local community. Education is the most important gift that we can give our children.

Tell us more about what the workshop involved and why you chose to pair with 1decision to raise awareness.

PSHE is a subject which is delivered more inconsistently in schools than any other subject. This is because the ‘subject matter’ is challenging and demanding, taught by staff who do not feel comfortable delivering the topics, and many schools do not allocate enough time to ensure that the subject is taught effectively.

The 1decision workshop, organised by Headway, offers schools and PSHE co-ordinators a bank of online resources covering a variety of subjects which empower children to make choices (and hopefully the correct choices) about key issues which they will face in their lives. I believe the key to the success of the scheme is engaging the support and involvement of the parents who can view the online resources and support their children in advance of these topics being taught in the classroom.

The resources are unique and provide busy teachers with well-planned, ‘user friendly’ lessons which cover difficult subjects in a pragmatic and sensible manner.

Can you tell us a little more about the Brooke 30 challenge programme and how it works across the school?

The Brooke 30 scheme has been devised to prepare children for their transition to secondary school, whether this is at 11 or 13 years of age. The scheme provides a variety of practical challenges and organisational experiences for children to carry out at school or at home and in their local community. It is similar to the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme, but aimed at younger children.

The scheme has six areas of study and when a child completes five challenges – selected from up to 15 per category – they are rewarded with a certificate. When they have received six certificates they will have completed the Brooke 30 Challenge Award.

There are lots of fun and interesting activities which can be carried out individually, at school or with their families – which itself is a very worthwhile virtue. Introduced at Brooke Priory this term, the children are thoroughly enjoyed taking part in a variety of challenges which push them beyond their comfort zones.

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