Purpose and Aims
PSHE education is a planned, developmental programme of learning through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives now and in the future. As part of a whole-school approach, PSHE education develops the qualities and attributes pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society. PSHE education equips pupils to live healthy, safe, productive, capable, responsible and balanced lives. It encourages them to be enterprising and supports them in making effective transitions, positive learning and career choices and in achieving economic wellbeing. A critical component of PSHE education is providing opportunities for children and young people to reflect on and clarify their own values and attitudes and explore the complex and sometimes conflicting range of values and attitudes they encounter now and in the future. Developing an understanding of themselves, empathy and the ability to work with others will help pupils to form and maintain good relationships, develop the essential skills for future employability and better enjoy and manage their lives.
- To build confidence, resilience and self-esteem
- To identify and manage risk
- To make informed choices and understand what influences their decisions
- To recognise, accept and shape their identities
- To understand and accommodate difference and change
- To manage emotions and to communicate constructively in a variety of settings.
Our curriculum is categorised in 2 ways
- Breadth - which gives pupils experiences across the PSHE and SRE curriculum
- Depth - which helps pupils to think and act like young citizens
Whilst coverage is our goal for the “breadth” element, repetition and increasing the understanding via mastery learning is our goal for the “depth” element.
Our curriculum drivers shape our approach to teaching PSHE so that every opportunity is taken to relate PSHE to the needs of our pupils. PSHE is studied weekly in both Key Stages, either through PSHE sessions, values sessions or News and Views sessions. Cross curricular links and Learning Outside the Classroom are incorporated where possible and meaningful.
Progression and Assessment
Our progression includes 12 units which are visited once in KS1 and twice in KS2 at a more challenging level at each stage. We set out our expectations around the Harpenden Academy PSHE scheme (adapted from the Ealing scheme). We use the Chris Quigley three cognitive domains to ensure each child receives the right support and challenge: Basic (We call it Paddling), Advancing (we call it Snorkelling) and Deep (we call it Diving). It is expected that the vast majority of pupils will have an Advancing understanding by the end of each milestone (KS1, Lower KS2 and Upper KS2) and some will have a Deep understanding.
Assessment and reporting
We will assess the pupil’s depth of understanding each year using the PSHE scheme assessment guidance.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Improvement
The role of the leader in monitoring pupil’s outcomes is to audit teachers’ judgements via book looks as well as ensuring breadth and depth of curriculum through book looks, learning walks and learning talks (with pupils). Strengths and areas for development are identified and actions shared with staff then reviewed to assess impact. Book looks are done collectively in staff meetings and then collated by the leader. The subject leader action plan and monitoring evidence is kept in the monitoring file and evidence is gathered and celebrated in the PSHE and SMSC portfolios.
Thrive Outside Project, Year 6, January 2019
This week year six headed to the forest as part of their PSHE Thrive Outside project: learning about all the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of spending time in nature.
They had a fantastic couple of hours:
- playing freely in and amongst the trees
- participating in a mindfulness session in the beautiful winter sunshine which focused on grounding
- creating their own nature trails using the right compass directions and all the senses
- generating ideas for prayer flags and wheels (linked to our RE topic on Buddhism)
It was wonderful hearing the children reflecting on how their time outdoors made them feel: alive, mindful, relaxed, tranquil and ‘small but in good way.’
Parent Behaviour Workshop, January 2019
Many thanks to the parents who attended our behaviour workshop on Tuesday to find out more about our positive behaviour management policy and our focus on growth mindset and resilience as key components of positive behaviour for learning.
Mrs Aylott ran though our behaviour policy and the steps we take as a school to ensure we are all adopting a positive, nurturing, therapeutic approach to behaviour management. Our behaviour process has been updated over the past few months with the input of the children and staff.
A summary of the key points is as follows:
- we always look to praise the positive behaviour we want to see and to celebrate those children whose behaviour follows our school rules: to be kind, to be respectful and to be safe.
- positive praise is done through a range of ways including: spot ons, dojos, marvellous me messages, celebration with other teachers, personal verbal feedback adapted to the needs of individuals, and whole school celebration assemblies
- we have adapted our policy to incorporate Hertfordshire's STEPs approach which is based on addressing the need behind the behaviour and empowering children to have choices when self regulating their behaviour and to work towards positive changes in their behaviour (through a nurturing and restorative approach)
- all staff have a de-escalation script which is followed if any challenging behaviour arises to ensure children are treated consistently and respectfully
- behaviour incidents are monitored half termly and data is analysed to spot trends and find solutions. The number of behaviour incidents has decreased dramatically since September 2017 when we introduced the new school rules and the revised approach
Mrs Watson shared some recent research on growth mindset and resilience, explaining the significant impact that they can have on children's self esteem, self confidence, curiosity, risk-taking, happiness, mental and emotional well-being and progress in learning - to name a few! The importance of resilience in the 21st century was also discussed, in particular the impact of increased pressures and stress on the children's and adults' mental health.
A summary of the key points is as follows:
- growth mindset is about seeing challenges as learning opportunities and being open to try new things and take risks
- the underlying belief being that effort is more important than outcomes, that mistakes are an important part of learning, and that practice and positive attitude can improve achievement and grow your brain!
- resilience is closely linked to growth mindset and is about finding ways to bounce back from problems and to learn from them, not to mention being solution-focused and curious when challenges arise and to accept all emotions as part of being human.
- strategies that we use in school to help develop growth mindset and resilience include: the 6 Bs (use Bits and Bobs, Be still, Backtrack, ask a Buddy, be Brave and ask the Boss); growth mindset mascots (such as Mouse and Gruffalo); praising children's effort and attitudes rather than outcomes; role modelling resilience ourselves by thinking aloud when we become stuck or frustrated as adults; talking to the children about recent brain research that supports the positive benefits of growth mindset and resilience; weekly resilience awards; purposefully giving children tricky challenges and discussing and celebrating their ability to persevere and 'get unstuck'
- the importance of mindfulness as a way of improving well-being and resilience in children was discussed along with different types of mindfulness activities that can be done at school and home (mindful eating, mindful listening, mindful walking, mindful breathing). At school the children take part in mindfulness activities each day after lunch and it is wonderful to see how calm and ready for learning the children are afterwards.
A couple of resources that were mention for developing growth mindset and resilience are:
- Let's Talk Resilience by Sue Nicholls (card game)
It was lovely to have such lovely feedback from the parents who attended:
"I wanted to say how completely fantastic the session was this afternoon - it was incredibly helpful with lots of ideas to try at home."(Parent of a Y2 and Y4 child)
"I really valued the behaviour workshop this week - it was brilliant to see how our children are learning resilience, patience and understanding. I feel it's invaluable that we, as parents, get on board and learn the techniques our children are implementing every day. I left feeling incredibly positive so thank you!(Year 4 parent)
"Thank you for the behaviour workshop you put on for parents this week. It was very reassuring to know that HA operates in such a positive, caring way towards our children. Apart from the obvious benefits the school policy has made to student behaviour at school, we parents came away with some very good ideas on how we could use the same techniques at home!"(Year 5 parent)
" The workshop was very helpful. Great reminders about growth mindset and mindfulness. And good for me (as a new parent) to know more of the HA approach. You are doing great work here and it was a very eloquent presentation."(Year 5 parent)
Harpenden Academy Elves Wrap over 200 presents for Charity, December 2018
On Saturday our very own Harpenden Academy elves wrapped almost 200 gifts, generously donated by HA families to make Christmas day full of joy and hope for children who are currently living in care. Last year our gifts were extremely well received and this year we've over doubled the number being gifted.
The children (and parents) worked tirelessly all morning to wrap and label all the gifts, also creating beautiful cards to send to each child. Thank you all for your time, generosity and energy.
Action for Happiness, 7th December 2018
This week all classes (and hopefully teachers and other staff) have been taking part in the Action for Happiness Kindness calendar - with a new kindness challenge every day as part of Do Good December!
It has been wonderful to see the children embracing this concept so openheartedly and we hope some of the actions have been brought home. In Year 6 we had so many secret positivity notes delivered to our classroom on Thursday that we had to set up books to stick them all in! The calendar fits with our value of the month - Hope - as showing kindness is a way of spreading hope. Please feel free to complete Saturday and Sunday's challenges at home:
Feeling Good Fortnight
Paul Geraghty, amazed the children with his storytelling and illustrations. His illustrations will be displayed in school once we have frames for them.
George Fouche Motivational Speaker
Who told us about his life and the positive impact a growth mindset had had on his challenging life so far.
Making pizzas with our ABM Caterers
We learnt how to not waster food.
Learning Playground Games in Family Groups
At Harpenden Academy we teach the children and teachers mindfulness techniques to provide them with tools to support their mental and emotional wellbeing. We often have mindfulness breaks during the day to pause, relax and clear our busy minds. Sometimes we do our mindfulness outdoors looking up at the sky and listening to the sounds around us. At other times we go into the sensory room and use the calming equipment in there to help us enjoy being in the present moment. Year Six shared their mindfulness learning with the whole school in an assembly - explaining all about the different aspects of mindfulness they use, from mindful eating to mindful listening and mindful breathing. They also talked about how mindfulness helps them outside school - for example getting back to sleep if they wake in the night or steadying their nerves before a swimming gala.
Small Acts of Kindness Project
In January 2017 the school council (inspired by the Queen's Christmas speech) wanted to set up a Small Acts of Kindness project in which each class created their own small act of kindness to carry out in our local community. Activities ranged from baking cookies for our local fire station to singing at a local old people's home to organising a whole school fun run to raise money for refugees. Everyone felt really proud to have made a positive difference to other people's lives, near and far.
During the Spring Term 2018, our Year Five pupils were took part in Hertfordshire's Mini Police project - the first school to be chosen to pilot the project. It was an amazing experience with the children learning a huge amount about what being a police officer involves - from police dog handling to riot training to how to tackle anti-social behaviour. The children shared their learning with the rest of the school in a Mini Police assembly as well as being invited to an awards ceremony at the Hertfordshire Police Headquarters. What wonderful role models these children are to the rest of our school and community.
People Who Help Us
In the Spring term 2018 our Reception children were learning about People Who Help Us. Each week a different person came to visit the children, talk about their job and answer the children's questions: mountain rescue dog handler, physiotherapist, nurse, police dog handler, postman and paramedic. Each visit was inspiring and informative, not to mention lots of fun!
Remembrance Day, November 2017
Thank you to our Elliot and Emily from SJL who played the last post on the cornet. The lovely Vicar Dennis Stamp for his Remembrance speech and to Barnaby’s Grandad, Mike, for sharing his thoughts and memories with us. Year 5 did a moving recital of the poem ‘ In Flanders Fields.’ It was a lovely shining example of school, parents and the local community coming together.
Icing biscuits for Poppy Day with our ABM Caterers
During family groups on Wednesday Sapphire group came up with three school rules: be respectful, be happy, be kind. The children then acted out scenarios showing these three rules in action. Can you guess which rule is being acted out in each photo?