At Saint Cecilia’s, PSHE (Personal, Social, Health Education) is taught twice a fortnight to all pupils and students (apart from Year 11 who have a lesson once a fortnight). These lessons are tailor made for each year group to ensure the appropriate level and depth is met and that topics are suitable for our pupils and students’ needs.
Research and evidence conducted by the PSHE Association strongly suggests that an effective PSHE programme can tackle barriers to learning, raise aspirations, improve the life chances, attainment and social mobility of all pupils and students, especially vulnerable and disadvantaged children. Lessons provide a safe and respectful environment where pupils and students can talk about, sometimes, difficult and sensitive topics within a loving and kind Christian framework. All queries are handled respectfully, patiently and sensitively.
Whilst these lessons are timetabled, we will continue to be flexible according to the needs of our pupils and students, often having outside agencies give presentations and talks, perform plays and workshops. Recent visitors include the Police Schools’ Liaison Officer, Wandsworth Local Councillor Nick Cuff, the Chaplain at Brixton Prison, Tender – a London based charity working to educate children on gender based violence, experts in both mental and sexual health and a production of ‘Chelsea’s Choice’, bringing to light the harsh realities of child exploitation.
The emphasis of Citizenship within the PSHE curriculum is on active citizenship, empowering students to take responsibility and be agents of change, either at a local, national or global level. The work is also well focused on students’ lives, incorporating both world affairs and current local events into their learning. For example, Year 9 pupils have recently visited a local Foodbank, an old people’s home and helped to cut back an overgrown vicarage garden.
Large numbers of students take part in community action and participate in a variety of citizenship projects, during the days. For example Sixth Form students assist with the upkeep of the local Watermeads conservation area and The River Wandle Trust and Battersea Park. They also assist with pupils at our nearest primary school – St Michael’s’. In 2015, 28 Year 11 pupils participated in the ‘National Citizen’ project, ‘The Challenge.’