Tags: Classroom Teacher | Learning Mentor | Teaching & Learning Coordinator | Teaching and Learning

Hayesfield School Technology College is a large girls’ comprehensive school on the south side of Bath. Mary Read and Jo Sargent explain how Citizenship, PHSE, PE and extra-curricular activities have been brought together to raise the profile of healthy living for all students.

Over the last few years we have been increasingly concerned at the demise of PSHE in our school as other curricular demands and initiatives have eaten away at time during the school day. With the ever-increasing academic and social pressures on modern teenagers, our students (who are from wide-ranging social and academic backgrounds) seem to need more time to talk and to be heard.

As we began to re-think our PSHE provision in 2002, we faced a variety of issues and initiatives, some of which you will be familiar with:

  • Citizenship is now statutory, but what about Health Education?
  • As a split site school, our tutors travel between sites during the day and don’t see their tutees as often as we would like. A substitute tutor (who is often used to ensure that subject teachers start an afternoon or morning session in the correct building) could deliver as much as half the allocated tutor time.
  • We were developing a school council.
  • The PE Department were reviewing their curriculum and we needed to appoint a new Head of PE.
  • A three-year training programme of circle time for Years 7-9 had just begun.

In the winter of 2000 I went on a short teaching-exchange to a school in Sydney, Australia. I found this trip inspirational in many ways, but one of the curriculum arrangements at Crestwood High (in the Baulkham Hills suburb of Sydney). What really caught my attention was how the PE Department delivered all the health education. In addition to this, all staff are expected to take part/lead extra-curricular sports on a Wednesday afternoon.

There are times when several ideas and experiences come together at just the right time!

The Concept

To create a new faculty to encompass, Citizenship, PHSE, PE, with a brief to extend extra-curricular activities and to raise the profile of healthy living for all students and even to staff. Students were to have a holistic experience of healthy living, from theory to practice, around their personal needs. This is a message we want them to have for life.

The Planning Process

  • The PE Department was consulted. The change had to come now or not at all, so two planning meetings were held with PE staff. They had mixed feelings and they were particularly worried that a new Head of Faculty might not be a PE teacher, so the requirement to teach PE went on the new job description.
  • The new Head of PE was amalgamated into the new Head of Faculty role that we had created, with support from the Head Teacher to develop the PE Department in a new direction.
  • The post was advertised in the summer term 2002. The role was initially developmental and following the appointment of Jo, the academic year 2002-03 was a time to consolidate the PE Department and make plans for the new faculty to change and grow.

The Year of Development 2002-03

Our wish list:

  • PSHE taught every week (at the time of these changes, it was only taught 15 times a year).
  • PSHE taught by people who wanted to teach it!
  • The school council to be a big part of the citizenship programme.
  • All students to take part in exercise of some sort, assess their own fitness levels and examine their lifestyles.
  • Every student to have a health portfolio managed between PE and PSHE (to be reviewed every year).
  • All children to take part in a team building exercise or an outdoor education residential visit.
  • Jo, at the time our new Head of Faculty, had to bridge the two groups of the PE Department and the Heads of Year who were currently responsible for PSHE and Citizenship. INSET time was provided for these groups of people to meet and plan.
  • Using a future-basing exercise the faculty of the future was envisaged. What did we want the faculty to look like in five years time?
  • The faculty comprised of HoY and PE staff divided into smaller task groups to work on four areas of development: PSHE, Citizenship, extra-curricular activities, and the school environment.
  • We surveyed all teaching staff on their attitudes to teaching PSHE. This resulted in us moving towards specialist teaching teams. All PE staff, Heads of Year, Assistant HoY and a few additional staff who expressed an interest, became the PSHE teaching teams for the next year.
  • The above groups of people shared responsibility for the complete re-write of the PSHE curriculum, now to be delivered through the medium of circle time in years 7-11.
  • Following the arrival of a new head, we re-structured the school day enabling PSHE to be timetabled once a week with different year groups at different times. This replaced the previous model of collapsing the timetable for PSHE across the whole school, with tutors delivering the programme.
  • Some members of the new faculty would be able to teach PSHE to each year group.

September 2003 launch of the new faculty ‘SHE’ – Self, Health and Exercise

The Problems

There are always some problems! We were no different.

  • Within the PE Department there was some concern that we were trying to move too quickly, as they wanted the opportunity to consolidate PE before a bigger development.
  • We were unsure how other Heads of Faculty would feel about someone being given a year to develop their new faculty and team?
  • Tutors only meet their tutees at morning registration and in a one-to-one academic review. Some were asking to be involved in the faculty next year to enable them to have more contact with their tutor group and we were unsure if we could accommodate this.
  • By far the biggest issue was running a cross-curricular group of people who are already busy. Finding time to meet wasn’t easy as the PE Department have regular fixtures and the Heads of Year have pastoral and subject commitments. SHE meetings are now on the school calendar and development time is prioritised in the summer term when exam classes leave….but much rests on the enthusiasm of the indi-viduals involve
  • Wanting all the ideas to come to fruition – it is a five-year plan and it is frustrating not being able to implement our ideas as quickly as we would like.
  • We still need to update training skills of staff involved, as there are some very diverse and specialist areas.
  • We want every Year 7 pupil to go on a residential trip and there is no obvious solution to the problem of funding.

The good…

There was lots of positive feedback.

‘I liked the sessions to do with self-confidence and things we enjoy. We were free to write what we liked.’

‘The new way of using PSHE as a lesson works really well’

‘We have a good teacher and have good quiet circle time.’

‘The best thing about PSHE is being together as a tutor group, knowing that everything is safe.’

‘PSHE has a regular pattern, so you know what’s going to happen’

‘I have enjoyed the lessons about food problems (anorexia and bulimia). They were really interesting and informative.’

‘I have enjoyed most the sleeping project and learning how to stay friends, and when we wrote how we felt about each other on a piece of paper.’

The school council is working well with full consultation with students and is scheduled into the PSHE plan. Heads of Year and Assistant Heads of Year are keeping their ‘finger on the pulse’ by working within their year group. This means that issues of bullying or tutor group relationships can be dealt with more effectively. Resources are also being shared across the year groups much better than before. Involvement with the Government’s PSHE Accreditation scheme has enabled staff to take part in training at just the right time. They can also be recognised for work they have done.

The bad…

There is always a continuing need to develop ‘specialisms’ in PSHE, so that some team members advise or prepare materials in specific areas.

And the ugly

The next task is to work on plans for the extra-curricular and residential experiences as well as thinking how to map progress in healthy living. How do we know that we are making a difference to how our pupils live? Early on, that is the key question.

There is still a lot of work to do. This has required extra meetings and extra workload for a group of already very busy people. The commitment has been outstanding.  

As the Government is becoming more concerned about the health of the nation, we are sure that this type of work is the way of the future. However, our experiences so far show that it takes huge commitment from all levels of teachers in school from the Headteacher to the PE and PSHE teacher. There is a need for resources both in terms of information and finance. Focus is needed to develop further links between PHSE and PE and to establish a database, which in the long term will monitor if we really are making a difference. TEX

Head of SHE Faculty – Job Description

  • Managing day-to-day running of PE Department including movement between sites/facilities.
  • Negotiating/writing the Faculty Development Plan each year and carrying out appropriate review.
  • Offering an improving range of activities within PE Department.
  • Planning and monitoring Schemes of Work for PSHE.
  • Monitoring the delivery of GNVQ Health and Social Care, offering support to teachers of the subject.
  • Managing staff within the departments of each faculty.
  • Ensuring Health and Safety regulations are enforced/followed in PE.
  • Overview of assessment (both internal and external) within PE, Health and Social Care.
  • Managing the new reporting of Citizenship and assessment in PSHE.
  • Organisation and monitoring of extra-curricular sporting activities (e.g. fixtures/liaisons with other schools/organizing transport).

Mary Read has been the Assistant Headteacher at Hayesfield for 12 Years. Jo Sergeant is Head of the new SHE Faculty. Hayesfield School Technology College has 1,150 girls on role. To find out more visit www.hayesfield.co.uk.

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