Curriculum Team Leader
Mr Andrew Allman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our aim is to equip the young people in our care to learn more about themselves and how they can adapt to life’s situations and make the right choices; whilst raising awareness of the world around them and help them evolve into responsible Global Citizens.
At times throughout each year, we deliver topics of a sensitive nature. It is very important to us that students feel able to discuss such topics in a respectful, anonymous yet open environment. The Life Skills department has developed clear guidelines and expectations that ensure all lessons are a safe space for young people to discuss and question important issues.
We collaborate closely with Year Leaders, Pastoral team, tutors, SMSC Leader and the Community Police Force; to ensure that we are all up-to-date with current situations or trends in local and national society.
The following statutory curriculum requirements are built into the Life Skills programmes:
PSHE – Personal, Social, Health & Economic Education
RSHE – Relationships, Sex & Health Education
FBV – Fundamental British Values & Citizenship
SMSC – Social, Moral, Spiritual, Cultural content
CEIAG – Careers Education Information, Advice and Guidance
The three TGS Personal Development themes built around the above are:
Emotional Health and Well-Being Education –
including drug and alcohol education, staying safe on-line, awareness of social media & the digital footprint, mindfulness, resilience, healthy diet and exercise.
Relationships, Sex and Health Education –
self-esteem, positive friendships and relationships, LGBTQ+, equality within relationships, peer on peer abuse, healthy sexual awareness, consent and the legalities surrounding all aspects of RSE education.
Living in the Wider World –
including local and global citizenship/community awareness and participation fundamental british values: democracy, the rule of Law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance for all. Financial capability and enterprise skills/careers education, information, advice and guidance.
All Year 7 students start their Life Skills journey with an introduction to secondary school, with lessons to put their mind at ease about transitioning to TGS and lessons designed to keep themselves safe as they navigate through smart phones and social media.
They will rotate through three main topics:
Living in the Wider World: A Citizenship based unit that allows students to understand more about online safety and social media; discrimination and tolerance; the roles of the police and justice system; water safety; an introduction to ‘Future Me’ careers at TGS; and a chance to invent their own country to explore themes such as culture and politics.
Health and Wellbeing: A health and relationships based unit that sensitively and expertly informs students about crucial elements to their own self as they begin their teenage years. They examine the importance of sleep; look at positive body image and self esteem; examine the changes to their bodies that come with puberty; and how to maintain healthy relationships and friendships.
Mindfulness: Students are taught about the workings of their minds, and explore strategies to ensure that their mental health and wellbeing can be looked after. This unit opens up the door to further studies on emotional wellbeing and positive mental health in later years.
Students in Year 8 start with an introduction to Mental Health, ensuring that they can identify signs and symptoms of common mental health disorders whilst also being more comfortable in discussing their own mental health. Students then progress to examine discrimination by studying the 9 protected characteristics, the Human Rights Act, and the Equality Act.
After Christmas students will have lessons in and a part of the ‘Future Me’ careers programme, looking at key skills that are relevant to work, and identifying potential jobs and careers of their own.
Students then learn in-depth about the health risks of substances such as alcohol, drugs and caffeine, before turning their attention to their Relationships unit which features focused lessons on topics such as consent, realistic vs TV relationships, Female Gential Mutilation and Harassment.
Year 8 ends with a Citizenship focus, exploring ways in which young people can get involved with society in order to improve their local and wider communities.
Year 9 lessons are designed to build upon students’ existing knowledge and understanding from their previous KS3 lessons. Students start by examining ways to stay safe as a 21st century teenager; healthy relationships, managing influence, effective communication, gangs, knife crime and county lines. They go onto learn basic First Aid, including primary surveys, basic life support and treating minor bleeds.
Before Year 9 tackle their GCSE Option choices and their careers unit, they have a case study on homelessness within the UK with an approach that helps broaden their understanding of the society around them.
We then examine the legalities of substances such as alcohol, drugs and vapes, before taking a step back and looking at the wider picture of addictive behaviours with a focus on gambling.
In the Summer Term students will have their Relationships and Sex Education lessons, covering elements such as consent, ‘red flags’ within relationships, shared positive values, an introduction to contraception and the consequences of unsafe sex.
The KS3 course ends with an introduction into UK politics.
In Year 10, Life Skills combines with statutory Religious Education to form a new Personal Development course that all students take alongside their GCSE option subjects. The course is designed to highlight wider societal issues and allow exploration of moral and religious viewpoints.
After an in-depth study of Mental Health including common illnesses, negative and positive coping strategies, and how to maintain positive emotional wellbeing, students turn their attention to making responsible health choices. Topics such as risk taking, forms of cancer, donations and surgeries are taught through the concept of ‘personal responsibility’, fostering independence and informed decision making.
Following units include broader themes such as Life and Death, which combines euthanisa, abortion and their respective religious and social interpretations. Crime and Punishment combines a citizenship unit of the UK Justice and Legal system, before looking at the religious and moral arguments for corporal and capital punishment.
In the summer term, students complete their statutory Healthy Relationships and Sex Education topics, studying consent; red flags; assertive communication; STIs and forms of contraception. They end their course with lessons tackling online safety, radicalisation and identifying problematic sources that are found on the internet.
This year’s Year 11 cohort are finishing up their statutory studies in PSHE and Citizenship, with a first aid course; revision strategies and workshops; radicalisation and assessing their Post-16 options before Christmas. Ahead of their GCSEs they look at the ever-interesting topic of tax, personal finance and budgeting – as well as tackling issues such as County Lines and Drugs.