School Curriculum – PSHE
All members of staff are automatically involved in the personal and social development of pupils and make a valuable contribution to PSHE in the following ways:
- Informally through the relationships that develop between pupils and staff.
- More formally through assemblies, tutorials and the guidance that is given for option choices, careers, etc.
- Many subjects offer courses and topics which relate to an area of personal and social development and address various health issues.
The inclusion of a PSHE programme in school seeks to promote the emotional, social, health and economic development of all pupils.
The PSHE programme at Kirkham Grammar School challenges the individual, it causes pupils to question themselves, their experiences and their understanding of life in an informative and supportive environment. The programme of study aims:
- To promote the development of self-awareness, self-respect and self-confidence.
- To enable pupils to develop skills needed for good study and learning, and for sound decision making.
- To help pupils develop skills of sensitivity and tolerance in personal relationships, which will enable them to relate well with other people in all walks of life, in the home, in the school and in the wider community.
- To help young people to accept their responsibilities towards other people in a thoughtful and caring way, in every kind of relationship which they are likely to experience.
- To develop in all young people a sense of involvement and responsibility for the future: their own individual future, and the future of society and the world.
- To encourage pupils to explore their own values and beliefs and to develop an interest in and understanding of their beliefs and values of the various cultures and groups that exist in today's multi-cultural society.
- It should promote powers of communication, analysis and decision-making, study skills, strength of character and the senses of responsibility, independence and self-worth.
First and Second Years undertake a full PSHE programme delivered by means of one timetabled period per week. They explore relationships, health education, development of self and study skills.
In the Lower School all students undertake some PSHE work in tutorials which is age appropriate and uses a variety of materials. Pupils participate in pairs and group discussion, role plays and attend enrichment experiences when appropriate.
Pupils in the First and Second Years also undertake the school's Enrichment Programme. Currently this comprises courses in philosophical skills and computer coding.
The aim of this course is to teach pupils the skills required to discuss challenging philosophical questions in a reasonable and respectful manner. It is very much a skills-based course, so there is almost no philosophical content to cover, instead the goal is to give pupils the linguistic and other skills necessary to think and argue about difficult and interesting concepts. Pupils are encouraged to think hard about the question under discussion and to contribute to a class discussion. Typical questions that may be considered are "Are there circumstances in which it is right to lie?", "Can we trust our senses?"
There is a growing body of educational research that shows that the introduction of teaching of "philosophical skills" into schools has the effect of improving pupils' achievement across the whole curriculum. It is thought that this is because pupils gain an understanding of concepts such as "therefore", "depends on", "because" and "necessary" which are useful to them across the curriculum. There is also clear evidence of a decrease in pastoral problems and it is thought that this is because pupils have learnt to accept another's point of view as well as gaining the skills required to express their own point of view.
Students will start the year using Kodu which is a visual programming package used to teach creativity, design, problem solving and storytelling alongside more formal programming concepts. The game-based software keeps the students interested and engaged whilst allowing a full range of abilities to develop a computerised world with multiple levels of interaction. The scope of the course is to progress onto more traditional programming languages, such as Python, once the logical structures of coding have been introduced and to also develop an understanding of how computers work.
All the pupils in the Third Year undertake a 'Wellbeing and Resilience Course' taught for one lesson every two weeks. This involves exploring what makes us happy; ways of increasing our self-esteem and confidence; goal setting; the importance of sleep and regular exercise; creating a positive mindset and reframing negative thoughts into positive ones. This is taught alongside a 'mindfulness' module to help pupils appreciate what is going well but also have strategies to respond more skilfully in the here and now to life's inevitable challenges.
All Middle School pupils are offered enrichment opportunities in the form of designated sessions on health and career issues, and visiting speakers are used as appropriate.
Presentations, PSHE topics and other events on a wide range of issues occur as part of the tutorial programme and workshops.
Visits and visiting speakers are arranged where relevant.