St Margaret’s CE Primary School uses Discovery Education Health and Relationships to deliver the new RHE curriculum.
Deputy Headteacher Sam Winton explains why the scheme provides complete support and is popular with teachers and pupils alike.
A GO-TO RESOURCE
Health and Relationships is our go-to resource for RHE. When we first reviewed the statutory guidance, we realised it covered a lot of new ground. We wanted a complete scheme of work teachers could pick up and run with. Health and Relationships felt right from day one. We liked the video content, and could see it would build teacher confidence.
Health and Relationships covers the new curriculum in 6 topics or ‘channels’, with 3 lessons in each. We teach RHE fortnightly, so we cover a topic every half term. Each lesson includes a plan, video, activities and teacher guidance. The videos are presented by children and are very engaging to watch. Teachers can simply switch on and the lesson is ready to go.
SAVING TEACHERS’ TIME
Our teachers love Health and Relationships because it’s a complete resource which saves time. To have everything in one place, ready to go and pitched at the right level, is a huge benefit. We don’t have time to search the internet for clips or make our own resources. Having access to a high-quality scheme that is age appropriate and geared towards what we are teaching is wonderful.
One of the best things about Health and Relationships is that it delivers real pupil progression. At the start of each topic we make a baseline assessment using mind maps which we later revisit. Before Health and Relationships, we weren’t capturing RHE progress effectively, but we’ve now got good evidence of the impact, which is huge. This term we’ve been learning about Healthy Friendships and it’s amazing to see how pupils have progressed.
Perhaps the biggest impact has been in the children’s ability to talk and listen to one another. They’re also learning how to accept different viewpoints and understand that not everybody feels the same way about life. In terms of building friendships and children getting along, Health and Relationships is a brilliant resource. It enables children to see things from a different perspective.
Health and Relationships is very flexible, and can be taught in a number of ways. We’ve opted to teach the same topic across the whole school each term, and we use our assemblies to consolidate learning. As RHE subject lead, I lead a weekly assembly where I focus on the current topic. I dip into each year group’s materials and adapt them for the whole school. I also use assembly time to reinforce safeguarding messages and make sure the children know where to go if they need help and support.
SUPPORTING PUPIL WELLBEING
The Health and Relationships resources really lend themselves to children focusing on their mental health, and how to look after themselves physically and emotionally. This has been very important during the pandemic. Returning to school post lockdown, some children hadn’t seen their peers for a very long time. Learning about healthy relationships helped the children to re-establish friendships and understand what good friendship looks like.
Recently our Year 2 children were learning about Similarities and Differences. The lesson helped them to think about their strengths and abilities, in discussion with classmates. One little boy said “I’m really good at football. That’s why people like me.” But then another child said, “Actually I really like you, because you always smile at me in the morning and you’re really friendly.” It was lovely to see the children become aware of their positive attributes. The lessons have provided a great boost to their self-esteem.
RELEVANT AND ENGAGING
Since using Health and Relationships, our pupils get very excited about RHE because it feels different to other lessons. They like the fact that it involves lots of talking, and they enjoy the child-led videos which open up discussions. Children also feel that it’s relevant. The themes link to every aspect of life at school and being a child today. The whole programme has been well thought out so that children can access and enjoy it.
Health and Relationships teaches children about diversity in lots of different ways and reflects our diverse society. What’s really nice is that the topics are very relevant and important for today. This is especially true of Similarities and Differences which reflects current issues. With everything that’s happening in the world at the moment, we find that Health and Relationships really supports our teaching.
Good RHE teaching should be delivered in partnership with parents, and the programme provides amazing support with this, which saves us a great deal of time. There are sample letters which we adapt and send to each year group, plus presentations to explain what’s going to be taught and why. Because we couldn’t have parents in school this year, we recorded the presentations and sent them via email. This helped us to have conversations that were absolutely key.
A RESOURCE FOR EVERYONE
As a school we wholeheartedly recommend Health and Relationships. It’s saved us huge amounts of time and is brilliant to teach. The resources and support have given us confidence to approach challenging topics and our pupils are very engaged. The lessons have even inspired us as adults. We’ve recently created an ‘appreciation tree’ in the staff room, where we recognise acts of kindness. The programme has heightened our mental health awareness across the whole school community, which is more important now than ever.