PSHE and Relationships and Health Education
PSHE and Relationships and Health Education at Portway Infant School
Statement of Intent
At Portway Infant School, we recognise the increasingly complex world that children are growing up in. We see it as our duty to prepare our children to live in this world and to be able to keep themselves safe. We want our children to understand the importance of mental and physical wellbeing and have some ways to achieve this.
We want our children to understand the importance of healthy, respectful relationships and to have all of the key building blocks to make these. We want children to be able to build positive friendships and to develop social skills to help them to do this as they grow older.
We recognise families as the prime source of information for children in this area and we see our role as supporting this message and ensuring consistency in the children’s experience. We will always engage with families and listen to their views. In order to achieve the best possible outcomes for our children in our context we will engage with local data and sources of information to ensure we are meeting the needs of each cohort. This will include publicly available health data such as Local Authority Health Profiles available on Public Health England’s website and suggestions from parents of areas that could be covered.
In response to Relationships and Health Education becoming statutory in September 2020, the guidance suggests that Relationships Education in Primary Schools should focus on “teaching the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships and relationships with other children and with adults…”
Our curriculum is designed carefully to meet the needs of our children in the context of our school community. These needs change each year and we adapt the curriculum to reflect this.
PSHE is taught through discrete teaching sessions, as well as through assemblies, circle times and through incidental learning opportunities. Staff take all opportunities to embed PSHE learning into context, including by supporting children to develop friendships and teaching the social skills that they will need to navigate the complexity of social relationships.
Relationships Education starts with pupils being taught what a relationship is, what friendship is, what family means and who the people are who can support them. As an Infant School we see it as our responsibility to give children the building blocks they need to develop safe, respectful relationships. This forms part of our safeguarding culture in the school, where we challenge behaviour and attitudes that dominate or intimidate. By doing this, we are proactively taking a stand against the normalisation of a culture of abuse and empower our children to have a voice and understand that no-one has the right to make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
Children join us in Year R from various different settings and environments; some attended large settings with lots of other children, while others spent time with childminders or family members. We recognise that both options have distinct advantages in terms of a child’s personal, social and emotional development, but also that some children will have had more opportunities to explore different types of relationships. For this reason, the PSHE and RHE curriculum in Year focuses on families and friends, and developing the children’s awareness of what positive relationships look like.
The new Early Years curriculum introduced in 2021 places a renewed emphasis on building relationships, including how to work and play cooperatively, take turns, form positive attachments and show sensitivity to others’ needs. Children take part in regular circle times, following the Nurturing Programme, which aims to support their developing understanding of what makes a good friend. Adults working with the children support them to apply what they have learned into their play, including through direct role play, and encourage them to articulate their thoughts and feelings.
Another focus of the Early Years curriculum is around managing their own feelings and behaviour. Children are taught about choices and consequences, and this language is used throughout the day and in each year group.
Towards the Summer Term each class introduces the concept of ‘personal power’, and children are taught that it is OK to say ‘no’. This is the beginning of teaching of consent, and children explore the differences between appropriate and inappropriate contact.
All of the Early Learning Goals and associated outcomes from statutory RHE are taught explicitly in discrete teaching sessions, as well as embedded through the children’s play and other curriculum areas.
When children move up to Year 1, the PSHE and RHE curriculum splits into three strands: health and wellbeing; relationships and living in the wider world. Each half term children receive direct teaching that covers all of these areas; sometimes this will be through discrete PSHE sessions, and at other times this is covered as part of another subject (for example, road safety is discussed at length when children learn to cycle in the Autumn Term).
Children begin the year by learning how to work well together, as well as learning some strategies to manage their own mental wellbeing. This strand continues throughout the year, and children have regular opportunities to take part in mindfulness activities, including yoga.
The work done in Year R around relationships is built upon, with children exploring in more depth how to care for others and how to further build up friendships. At this stage children explore what bullying means and that it is wrong and unacceptable. Children are encouraged to deepen their understanding of how to keep themselves happy and healthy, looking at the characteristics and benefits of good physical health and sleep hygiene.
We ensure the entire curriculum is covered each year; however, the focus and emphasis changes slightly each time to reflect the needs of the cohort. For example, if a class or year group had particular needs around friendships, this strand would be explored further to ensure we are equipping the children with everything they need to develop their social skills and awareness.
In Year 2 the children build on all of their PSHE learning so far in the school. As part of the ‘health and wellbeing’ strand children continue to explore what constitutes a healthy lifestyle, and this is looked at in more depth around the meaning of a balanced diet and nutrition. Children also receive some basic first aid training, the planning for which is provided by the British Red Cross.
As part of preparing for living in the wider world, children are taught about money and where it comes from. Concepts such as saving are introduced and children explore the role money plays in their lives, as well as how to make choices about spending money.
Children continue to learn about different types of relationships, and as part of this their learning about bullying in Year 1 is reinforced, with children considering the impact of bullying and strategies to resist it if experienced or witnessed.
Due to the nature of PSHE learning and its impact on children’s wider lives, we ensure the curriculum builds logically from Year R through to Year 2, at each stage giving children the opportunity to revisit previous learning, explore and develop these strands in more detail and embed the taught skills into their play.