Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship & Economic Studies (PSHCE)

Head of Department – Miss L Barnes

Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact in PSHCE



PSHCE at St Martin’s School is delivered across KS3 and KS4 as a separate stand-alone subject.  At KS5 students continue to look at PSHCE independently as well as in assemblies and drop-down days.  The curriculum takes into account new statutory guidance and ensures that all aspects of the framework of study are covered.  The learning is completed in a spiral approach with students building on their knowledge each year to study more age appropriate and mature material.  All year groups also have a focused enhancement day covering a key aspect of the PSHCE curriculum such as Road Safety or Substance Abuse where outside professionals deliver content in addition to their curriculum lessons and to enhance students understanding of the topic.  This is also followed up throughout the enhancement day and in later PSHCE lessons.

The overarching aim for PSHCE within the statutory guidance and at St Martin’s is to ensure students are equipped with the learning and knowledge to journey through school and beyond being able to make important decisions at different stages in their lives.  The content will enable them to become successful citizens and keep safe and healthy throughout their lives.  By developing student’s engagement in these topics earlier in their lives, it will provide them with the independence to make these decisions for themselves using the knowledge from their learning to do so.  Although PSHCE is not a subject where students will sit a final exam or receive a qualification, the learning across their school lives will be pivotal in helping them in their futures.  We use regular feedback from students to tailor the curriculum to ensure it is fully meeting the needs of our students.

Why is the study of PSHE important?

PSHCE is a vital subject for students to study throughout their St Martin’s journey which will continue to impact them throughout their adult lives.  The subject provides an enriching but also thought-provoking range of topics that enable all students to engage in the learning.  A range of topics are explored which will help support students in becoming independent, resilient, successful and well-rounded citizens developing their cultural capital.  Across Key Stage 3 and 4, students explore topics such as Emotional Wellbeing, Conflict Resolution, Money Management and Relationship and Sex Education.  Each topic is broken down into key areas and explored at the appropriate age level through a variety of engaging activities.  In lessons, students learn through discussion, practical activities and written based work to cater for the different learning styles of students.  During the lessons, other skills will also be developed through the nature of the subject.  For example, students’ speaking and listening skills will develop as they take part in discussion and debate on current trending topics.  They will also build their resilience and empathy as we explore more sensitive content such as Discrimination.  By studying PSHCE, students will be equipped with the knowledge and information to be independent in making decisions that will affect them both whilst they are at school but also in their futures.

How does the study of PSHCE develop your skills, knowledge and understanding?

In PSHCE lessons, we constantly develop key skills needed for the future in the world of work but also in our everyday lives.  These link to the school’s vision, THRIVE as well as encouraging students to develop their own opinions, keep an open mind and debate key topics with respect and confidence.  Each lesson focuses on a new topic so reflecting on progress occurs regularly throughout the lessons through progress checks, retrieval practice, questioning and plenaries.  With a knowledge rich curriculum, students regularly reflect on their learning of key concepts and explore scenarios and case studies that they can relate to their own lives.

How are students assessed in PSHCE?

There is no formal assessment in PSHCE, however, there is regular in class assessment that happens throughout the curriculum.  Students are assessed not on their opinions but on their contributions to the lesson and what they have shown in terms of progression in their understanding of the topic.  Rather than a grade, students are assessed on their Attitude towards Learning within lessons and their effort towards both the written and verbal side of the subject.  Assessments take place regularly through questioning and written tasks.

How does PSHCE support learning in other areas of the curriculum?

PSHCE builds students’ open-mindedness towards differences in society which allows them to respect and consider other peoples ideas and opinions.  This is key across the curriculum where students explore topics that may offer a variety of opinions or interpretations.  For example, we can extend on PRE’s discussions on diversity by applying them to real life situations such as the work place.  Sociology’s work on families and relationships can be built on by looking at the different types of commitment, roles and responsibilities in relationships.  Science’s study of puberty through the effects it has on the body can be developed in PSHCE by looking at how it can then affect our relationships.  In English and PSHCE, we can progress our debating skills by discussing and sharing opinions on differing views.  It also helps to build resilience through the challenging topics explored which is needed across the whole curriculum in order for students to excel in their studies even when they find something difficult.  They also build empathy during some of our sensitive topics which is beneficial in helping them to consider the experiences of others which is beneficial in subjects exploring different cultures such as Geography and Sociology or even different times such as History.

How can students extend and deepen their knowledge in PSHCE?

Students can continue to learn about the world as it is happening today by keeping up to date on current affairs through the news.  Students can also engage in conversation with each other which may spark debate on topics to explore the wider opinions on events.  There are a variety of TED Talks available online linked to the PSHCE topics explored in lessons and these are often led by experts in the field or even presenting on a new idea that could impact society.

How does PSHCE link to the world of work?

As part of the PSHCE curriculum, students engage with careers and money management as topics.  Students, starting in year 7, explore the world of work through enterprise skills, employment rights and career routes and aspirations.  They also explore salaries moving into how to manage money through budgeting, understanding payslips and the value of money.  The transferable skills that are built through PSHCE are also vital in supporting students in their future lives and careers including building empathy, teamwork skills and looking at a variety of different viewpoints.

How does PSHCE link to the three strands of our core values?

Equipping students’ with the knowledge and skills to become independent adults, making choices that enable them to live an enriched, healthy and successful life, supporting them on their journey to ‘Be The Best They Can Be’.

THRIVE runs through our curriculum and in PSHCE is incorporated into the three strands of the school’s vision and ethos as shown below.

Traditional Values
Learning for the Future
Outstanding Personal Achievement

Within the PSHCE curriculum, schemes of work develop student’s empathy towards different people’s opinions and ways of life by allowing them to explore contrasting points of view and the experiences of others in different cultures.  For example, in Key Stage 3, students explore discrimination in the work place and Forced Marriage.  In Key Stage 4 we think about routes into parenthood for different people including LGBTQ relationships.  In Key Stage 5, PSHCE assemblies develop students understanding of contraception by looking at different types and how contraception has changed throughout history.

Students are polite, considerate and respectful in PSHCE especially considering more sensitive topics and those which may be affected by some of the content explored. In group discussions, students use teamwork by listening and engaging with each other through debate appreciating the contrasting views and opinions of others.  They can apply their learning to different real-life scenarios so they can see the direct link to their own lives.

Students are punctual to lessons and all lessons are well attended.  They are equipped for learning, treat equipment and resources with respect and take pride in their presentation in written work.

Students are independent and are taught to make informed choices about their own thoughts and feelings on a topic and encouraged to share these with peers through healthy debate.  Content is knowledge rich and age appropriate to challenge students and equip them with the knowledge they need to make their own decisions both at school and in the future.

Students gain valuable knowledge of a wide range of topics that will help them whilst at school and in the future.  Many key transferable skills that are desirable in employment are built and strengthened within lessons.

Students are challenged to be confident and versatile in their ideologies so they can explore alternative and contrasting viewpoints.  They can also build an understanding and respect for different communities and cultures.

Students are encouraged to extend their understanding by engaging in current affairs and news topics and these are brought into lessons by linking content to up to date information and events.  Students also have Enhancement Days which focus on different key areas such as Road Safety and Substances utilising external companies and experts to provide students with a wider experience.

Students engage in specific content that will be used by them in the future such as our work with careers where students create their own CVs and practice for interviews.  We also look at potential future scenarios that they may face such as conflict in relationships and explore strategies to support them when in these situations.

Students develop their resilience by exploring challenging and mature content which exposes them to different viewpoints, cultures and experiences.

Students prepare for the world of work through careers specific content which gives them time to explore potential options for their futures.  Students also look into the economic side of society including the government and finances.

As they do in all lessons, students strive to ‘Be The Best They Can Be’ in PSHCE.  They engage and focus on producing quality written work, engage in in-depth debate and discussion and hone transferable skills that can be applied to their learning and futures.  Students' attitudes in lessons reflect this where they demonstrate a passion for the content and respect for each other.

Students are able to take what they learn in PSHCE and utilise it in their day to day lives.  Building upon skills each lesson prepares them for the world of work and to be successful well-rounded citizens.

Students in PSHCE are given the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills and refine their debating skills where they are encouraged to explore varied view points and consider other peoples experiences.  This enables them to empathise with a range of cultures and explore diversity.

Students take opportunities to self and peer assess by reflecting on their work, their opinions and views.  They learn to be honest with themselves and each other whilst exploring mature and sometimes sensitive content through discussion and real-life scenarios.  Students are able to successfully reflect on their work using feedback and targets to strengthen points and improve further.

Students develop their cultural capital with British Values embedded in their learning through the curriculum.  Students explore not only current ideas but explore the history that has bought us to this point.


Teaching in PSHCE is designed to ensure all students are receiving the same high quality learning experience across all year groups.  A shared Language for Learning is embedded in every lesson to ensure consistency and effective use of lesson time to enable students to get the most out of every lesson.  Each lesson ensures students understand the focus of their learning through shared Learning Intentions; key learning is reinforced through Retrieval Practice, half termly opportunities for Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time (DIRT) to extend and challenge their learning further and regular and engaging Questioning for Understanding especially through the use of debate.

Learning Intentions:  The curriculum for PSHCE is planned using the advice of the PSHE Association, the statutory guidance of certain key topics such as Relationship and Sex Education and the Gatsby Careers Benchmarks and the current trends and events that occur both nationally and locally that affects our students.  Each half term focuses on a core topic, such as Substances, and the lessons are sequenced to ensure the material taught is appropriate to the age group and allows for challenge and support where necessary.  The learning intentions are shared each lesson with baseline assessments and plenaries as part of our questioning for understanding and assessment for learning to ensure the intentions are being met.

Retrieval Practice:  The curriculum is designed to build upon students prior learning from earlier lessons but also previous years.  The lesson style and teaching is designed to support students' retention of the content that they have been taught and to help them apply their knowledge to different case studies, topics and more in-depth learning as they progress through the school.  Each lesson starts with the opportunity for students to go back over their prior learning to ensure the key concepts and information can be recalled, and each half term ends with a recap plenary to engage the learners with assessing what they have learnt within that topic.

Effective Assessment:  Staff within the PSHCE team use informal assessment regularly to gauge students understanding and progress within the subject.  This is used to inform planning, spark debate and challenge misconceptions within the lessons.  The feedback loop allows students to look back at their work and embed the key concepts and learning from across the curriculum.  Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time (DIRT) allows students each half term to focus on what they have achieved within their lessons, addresses misconceptions and uses Challenge +1 to deepen their knowledge and understanding through differentiated targets.  Questioning for Understanding is embedded within lessons, with teaching staff promoting debate and asking challenging questions in order to develop their understanding on the subject matter being taught.  A variety of questioning techniques are used to check students understanding, challenge misconceptions and deepen the knowledge of the students.  It also allows opportunity for students to engage with each other in debate on challenging and mature topics, building respect for differing points of view and beliefs that others may have.  Regular questioning techniques include the no hands up rule, building on a classmate’s answer, small group discussion and larger whole class debates.

Teachers’ Subject Knowledge:  Our teachers have expert knowledge in PSHCE with opportunities for staff to develop their knowledge further through external training especially when new developments or trends occur which may need to be implemented within the curriculum.

Personal Development in Curriculum Implementation:  As well as key information and knowledge, students regularly have the opportunity to develop personal skills that they can utilise in other subjects but also in their futures.  The different elements of THRIVE are embedded in each lesson and students are signposted to the skills they need to be successful in each task and how they can further utilise them in their futures.  

The range of topics taught and the core skills developed are designed for our students to learn for the future and become well rounded citizens who can make a positive impact in the world.  The knowledge gained will allow them to be independent in their futures in making safe and healthy choices along with the skills developed allowing them to forge their own paths and enabling them to live successful lives.  British values are embedded within this as students explore and reflect on different cultures, beliefs and points of view reflecting the diversity we have at St Martin’s School.


In PSHCE, students gain the knowledge, skills and cultural capital needed to succeed in life, being able to make safe and healthy choices independently in their futures.  The content is taught consistently by a selected group of teachers who have extensive knowledge of the subjects.  As a result of our high expectations and the knowledge rich curriculum, our students achieve high standards in the subject.  We gain regular student feedback through questionnaires and panels to ensure the content and lessons are being taught at the appropriate level, using engaging teaching techniques and that the knowledge is retained.  Our students make progress in what they learn, utilising prior knowledge and building upon the content each year in terms of difficulty and maturity.  This is monitored through consistent lesson observations, subject reviews and learning walks.

The knowledge learnt will allow our students to become more independent in the choices they make within their lives and will encourage them to make healthy choices that will support them in becoming well rounded citizens that contribute positively to society.  It will also support their self-management in terms of their organisation and emotional regulation.  Our work on careers allows students to prepare for their lives post 16 and post 18 exploring education choices, employment and training.  In year 9, students attend a drop-down careers day which will assist them with option choices but also open their eyes to the world of work through a practical exploration.  Every student in KS4 also benefits from a one to one meeting with our specialist careers advisor who is able to provide personalised career guidance to support students in making the best choice for them post 16.  In sixth form, students are given the opportunity to attend trips to high achieving universities such as Cambridge and to specialist universities offering them an insight into different courses focusing on specific subjects.  All of year 12 are given the opportunity to attend a UCAS taster day with Discovery Education and students have regular visits from post 18 specialists who offer guidance on university and other options including degree apprenticeships and entering the world of work as well as giving an insight into a specific career or career path.