Our intent in PSHE teaching at Willow Brook is to ensure that we build the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other children and with adults.
This starts with pupils being taught about what a relationship is, what friendship is, what family means and how Willow Brook provides a community and adds to who the people are there to support them. From Year 1, building on early education, children will be taught how to take turns, how to treat each other with kindness, consideration and respect, the importance of honesty and truthfulness, permission seeking and giving, and the concept of personal privacy.
Establishing personal space and boundaries, showing respect and understanding the differences between appropriate and inappropriate or unsafe physical, and other, contact – these are the forerunners of teaching about consent, which takes place at secondary.
Respect for others will be taught in an age-appropriate way, in terms of understanding one’s own and others’ boundaries in play, in negotiations about space, toys, books, resources and so on.
From the beginning, teachers will talk explicitly and positively about the features of healthy friendships, family relationships and other relationships which young children are likely to encounter. Drawing attention to these in a range of contexts should enable pupils to form a strong early understanding of the features of relationships that are likely to lead to happiness and security. This will also help them to recognise any less positive relationships when they encounter them.
The principles of positive relationships also apply online especially as many children will already be using the internet with a degree of independence. Teachers will address online safety and appropriate behaviour in a way that is relevant to our children’s lives. We will include content on how information and data is shared and used in all contexts, including online; for example, sharing pictures, understanding that many websites are businesses and how sites may use information provided by users in ways they might not expect.
Teaching about families requires sensitive and well-judged input based on knowledge of pupils and their circumstances. Families of many forms provide a nurturing environment for children. (Families can include for example, single parent families, LGBT parents, families headed by grandparents, adoptive parents, foster parents and carers amongst other structures.)
A growing ability to form strong and positive relationships with others depends on the deliberate cultivation of character traits and positive personal attributes, (sometimes referred to as ‘virtues’) in a child. In a school wide context which encourages the development and practice of resilience and other attributes, this includes character traits such as helping pupils to believe they can achieve, persevere with tasks, work towards long-term rewards and continue despite setbacks. Alongside understanding the importance of self-respect and self-worth, pupils should develop personal attributes including honesty, integrity, courage, humility, kindness, generosity, trustworthiness and a sense of justice. At Willow Brook we achieve this in a variety of ways including planned opportunities for young people to undertake social action, active citizenship and voluntary service to others locally or more widely.
Relationships Education also creates an opportunity to enable pupils to be taught about positive emotional and mental wellbeing, including how friendships can support mental wellbeing. Through Relationships Education (and RSE), Willow Brook will teach pupils the knowledge they need to recognise and to report abuse, including emotional, physical and sexual abuse. This is delivered by focusing on boundaries and privacy, ensuring young people understand that they have rights over their own bodies. It will also include understanding boundaries in friendships with peers and also in families and with others, in all contexts, including online. Pupils should know how to report concerns and seek advice when they suspect or know that something is wrong. At all stages it will be important to balance teaching children about making sensible decisions to stay safe (including online) whilst being clear it is never the fault of a child who is abused and why victim blaming is always wrong.
The Willow Brook ethos is proactively taught in assemblies and lessons. It is at the heart of our Behaviour and Conduct Policy and it is our goal that each and every child understands the importance of COMMUNITY, CARE, CONFIDENCE, COMMITMENT and CREATIVITY and can articulate why they are so integral to life and work.
Willow Brook uses PSHE.org for resources to structure the content and progress of this area of the curriculum. The whole school plan has been adapted to address our unique needs and families. The structure of themes is as follows:
PSHE Programme of Themes
Teachers include a weekly session in their planning called ‘My World’. During this lesson, children are encouraged to explore world, local and personal events and debate their views and experiences. Their My World book provides a space for reflection and a place to record their responses and the thoughts of their class mates. Children also understand that this is a place where they can communicate private thoughts for an adult that they trust to read.
Regular debates during whole-school topics encourage Willow Brook children to speak freely and learn the responsibility of citizenship when doing so.
Specific external providers and themed days add to our provision. From DAaRT (delivered to Year 6 in the spring term) to input from the NSPCC, we continue to seek opportunities to engage and supplement learning. Charity days ensure that Willow Brook children develop a sense of community and are taught the importance of supporting others as well as appreciating all that they have.