Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education is a subject through which pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage their lives now and in the future. These skills and attributes help pupils to stay healthy, safe and prepare them for life and work in modern Britain. At Carlton le Willows we strongly believe that Personal Development also helps students to achieve their academic potential.
Our intent is to provide a meaningful sequenced curriculum that addresses many concerns raised by young people and parents all over the country, and within our local community. It provides opportunities for students to reflect on and clarify their own values and attitudes, and explore complex and sometimes conflicting range of values and attitudes they encounter now and in the future.
Our PSHE Curriculum focuses on three core themes:
1) Living in the Wider World (including Citizenship).
2) Relationships and Sex.
3) Health and Wellbeing.
In addition, at Carlton le Willows, we deliver the empirically validated Healthy Minds Curriculum. It is designed based on adolescent and neurological development and takes a spiral approach so that the learning builds and strengthens over time. A scheme of 64 lessons that span from year 7 – 11 and is underpinned by a set of psychological skills that build mental resilience and emotional wellbeing;
1. Self-Regulation– Understanding the impact and range of emotions that we can feel. Impulse control, calm and focused.
2. Flexible and Realistic Thinking – Open and curious to try different ideas, looking for evidence for different ways of doing things.
3. Self-Awareness and Compassion - Understanding of self in the context of others. Being kind and having compassion for self and others.
4. Hope and Optimism - The belief that the realistic goal can be met, thinking optimistically, focused and upbeat.
5. Human Connection - Connected to others, listening, looking at things from different perspectives, empathy, willing to reach out.
Learning these skills is proven to increase life satisfaction to the same level as when an adult finds a life partner!
Healthy Minds is a skills-based curriculum that meets statutory relationship and health requirements and is supported by the Department for Education when considering economic arguments for building wellbeing.
Now more than ever we need to build mental and emotional resilience in children to ensure a thriving society that can navigate the 21st century;
· Our children’s wellbeing is at its lowest – 5 children in a classroom of 30 are likely to have a mental health/wellbeing problem (Children’s Society)
· 1 in 9 children are unhappy with their school (The Good Childhood Report 2021, Children’s Society)
· 50% of mental health problems start by the age of 14 (Lifetime Prevalence and Age of Onset Distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication)
· The UK is ranked 69th out of 72 countries for children’s life satisfaction (Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Jan 2022).
The Healthy Minds Curriculum at Carlton le Willows builds on the skills that the students learnt in Year 7 so that they are able to transfer learning during their development. Students are able revisit the resilience skills each year and develop in-depth knowledge about resilience and how to apply the skills to various aspects of their emotional and social lives. Given that adolescence may be a time of potential challenge and/or adversity for many students, this comprehensive curriculum equips them with resilience skills that are familiar, salient and accessible. As students move through school the emphasis will gradually move from teaching the skills to learning how to apply them to the situations that are relevant to them.
The main resilience skills delivered and revisited over the course of Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 are:
Being aware of our self-talk beliefs: We all have an internal radio station that interprets situations as they happen. Sometimes it can be unhelpful or inaccurate. Most of the time it works just fine and we don’t need to tune in to it.
A-B-C Model: Activating event or Adversity- the event that has happened (just the facts). Beliefs- the thoughts we have in that moment. They can be about why the Activating Event or Adversity has happened or about what will happen next as a result. Consequences- the way we feel and behave as a result of our Beliefs about the Activating Event or Adversity.
Habits in our Beliefs: Some patterns in our thinking are pessimistic beliefs- especially me/always beliefs that make us give up and feel bad. Habits of thinking aren’t always unhelpful but usually mean we are missing or ignoring important information.
Challenging our negative beliefs: We can question our beliefs to come up with more optimistic/accurate beliefs. More optimistic beliefs may be just as likely to be true and could be more accurate. When we do this it can have an impact on how we feel and behave and lead to more helpful outcomes.
Looking for Evidence: Our beliefs need to be as accurate as possible so we can deal with the reality (good or bad). We need to be a detective and find evidence to prove whether our beliefs are true and completely accurate.
Putting it in Perspective: Sometimes when we think what will happen next we catastrophize and get into a spiral of worst case thinking. None of these things have actually happened yet but we are not able to problem solve effectively as our thinking has lost perspective. To stop ourselves catastrophising we can list the worst case and best case to then help us think more rationally and about the most likely. This has a calming effect and so we can plan what we are going to do next.
Real Time Resilience: When we have negative self-talk and it is distracting us from something that we need to be doing right now we can use tag-lines to dispute the beliefs.
Calming and Focusing: Sometimes our emotions are just too strong to be able to think! We can slow things down and calm our emotions using breathing, distraction and visualised relaxation techniques.
Assertive Communication: Communication should be confident, calm, controlled and clear. We can use this model: Describe the problem, express how this makes us feel, ask for change, and list the consequences of change.
Negotiation/Compromise: Sometimes we have to be prepared to compromise and work out a solution with other people. It is important to be clear on what we want, but to keep talking until a compromise is reached, then agree to a fair deal.