St Thomas of Canterbury School, Merrow, Guildford

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1 St Thomas of Canterbury School, Merrow, Guildford St. Thomas of Canterbury School is a Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. It is situated in the Merrow district of Guildford and serves the local community as well as surrounding areas. The aim of St. Thomas of Canterbury School is to fulfill our Mission Statement by providing a loving caring community of adults and children inspired by the Love of God, in which each child will feel happy and secure. It is in this atmosphere that he or she will be encouraged to develop his or her interests and abilities to the full. A keen interest is taken in the individual pupil and we are concerned for the development of the whole child. The aims of St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School are:- To guide our children to grow in the love of God and build relationships that will enable them to make a positive contribution to the school and society. To develop an exciting, challenging and creative curriculum that produces confident and successful learners. To establish a teaching and learning environment that encourages everyone to enjoy, to achieve, to be healthy, and to stay safe. To nurture a strong partnership between home and school through effective collaboration and communication. To enable our children to become responsible citizens and good role models. To work cooperatively with our wider community, to reach out to individuals and to encourage understanding and fairness. Through the School Council work has been done with the children to ensure they fully understand the aims of our school and to unpick what each of these aims will look like in action. The children have developed a poster incorporating their understanding of the aims. This poster is displayed in every class. 1

2 Number of pupils: % SEN 7.5% FSM 28.4% EAL What needs did we identify? After taking on the role of Healthy Schools Lead and PSHE coordinator I investigated current practice at the school by getting both staff and pupil feedback. I carried out a staff survey and the findings showed that they were generally confident to deliver PSHE lessons and with their own subject knowledge but lacked a clear understanding of what they should be teaching for their year group, in what depth and how PSHE linked with R.E. From interviewing the children it was apparent that children also lacked a clear understanding of what PSHE lessons really were and therefore when they were taking place. With these issues in mind, I identified our priority: To develop a comprehensive needs based spiralling PSHE curriculum and build teacher confidence and expertise in PSHE. I hoped that if teachers felt more confident with what they should be covering then this clarity of understanding would transfer to the children as well. What outcomes did we focus on? I had two main outcomes that I focused on throughout this project: to develop a clear PSHE curriculum and to raise the profile of PSHE. What did we do to meet our needs? Being a Catholic school we deliver EPR, which combines elements of R.E and PSHE. Using this as my starting point I developed a comprehensive overview for each year group which listed the different learning objectives that they should be covering. Each year group s overview also includes other objectives that as a school we feel are important and relevant to the topics we cover (such as fire safety, first aid etc). Aspects of the PSHE, Maths and Science National Curriculum objectives are also included where relevant. Each year groups objectives are then divided into seven main areas of learning (e.g. Financial Capability, EHWB, Healthy Living), which makes the objectives clear and accessible for staff. The idea is that it is easy for staff to identify how PSHE can then tie in with other lessons and subjects and also identify the objectives that need to be taught discretely. During my staff workshop, each year group then plotted where they intend to cover these different areas of learning throughout the year so they fit with their topics as much as possible. As a result of these actions each year group now has a clearly set out PSHE curriculum for their year group. 2

3 Examples of planning were shared with staff so they had a model of good practice. The SLT have added PSHE links to the planning monitoring checklist so staff are aware that it is the expectation from Spring During the interviews last year, children had commented on how much they enjoy themed days and weeks so I thought that this would be a good way to raise the profile of PSHE. I organised a Keeping Safe Week for EYFS and KS1 in the autumn term. The week began with an assembly on bullying from the Head Teacher and children could buy anti-bullying products throughout the week to show their support (run by the School Council). Parents and carers received information about the week on the school s newsletter. The staff were given lesson plans and resources to cover most of the Staying Safe strands from their new PSHE objectives. Each day we covered a different area such as road safety, fire safety, e-safety and anti-bullying work. I also arranged for visitors to come to the school. The fire service spoke to each class (EYFS and KS1) and then children had a tour of the fire engine. The police came on two days and spoke about how dogs were used in the police force (along with a demonstration!) and what the children should do if they ever felt in danger in different situations. A volunteer from the RNLI and the local swimming instructor also spoke about water safety. KS2 took part in anti-bullying and road safety activities during this week. Each term I have also asked staff to do a My Money Week (using pfeg resources) to address the financial capability objectives that each year should be covering. Arranging such activities keeps PSHE at the forefront of staff and children s minds and supports our creative curriculum. From my interviews with the children last year it became apparent that the name PSHE was difficult for them to really understand. I met with the School Council to come up with a more child friendly name. They came up with a list of potential names and the children then voted for Learning for Life as a name they understood and felt had more meaning. I shared this new name with staff at my workshop and asked them to use this with the children to help children understand what PSHE is really about. Children now have a Learning for Life folder that their PSHE work can be filed in. I had the chance to present the above actions to a selection of governors to inform them about what was happening with PSHE at our school. What did we achieve, and how did we know this? Staff understanding of the PSHE curriculum: Staff have now had the new PSHE objectives since November and have therefore started using them in planning. I have monitored planning this term across the school and cross-curricular links to PSHE are now appearing on a variety of lesson plans every year group has evidence of this. 3

4 Reception teachers have incorporated their objectives into the PSED element of the EYFS development matters. Some year groups are also planning for specific PSHE lessons, which is a great move forwards. Learning for Life folders are beginning to be used more, which again is a step in the right direction. Evidence of PSHE is prevalent in R.E and Science books too. Staff completed a survey again this term where I asked them to rate their confidence in different areas. I compared their scores to those from January 2012 to quantify the changes. Increase in confidence in subject knowledge: 14% Increase in confidence to deliver PSHE lessons: 11% Increase in confidence and understanding of the PSHE curriculum: 22% I am pleased to see that staff are feeling more confident and I hope that with continued support this will continue to improve. Raising the profile of PSHE: I think we have been successful in raising the profile of PSHE as my recent interviews with the children really showed an improvement in their awareness of PSHE. I interviewed a selection of children from each year group this term and asked them similar questions to those I asked at the start of the project. Children can now tell me about the sort of PSHE lessons that they do in their classes and were able to list different examples from the different areas of PSHE. The children now appreciate the importance of such lessons: Year R: It s important so people can t steal you or squish you on the road. Year 2 child: We learn a lot to help us when we re older. Year 5 child: You have to learn about it. You need to be more knowledgeable. The children clearly enjoy their PSHE lessons as most said that they would still like to do more as they re learning about themselves and others, which they think is important. As part of the interviews with the children I asked them to score themselves (out of 5) for their PSHE related subject knowledge and their enjoyment. I compared these to the scores from January 2012 to quantify any changes. EYFS and KS1 all gave higher scores for their knowledge and enjoyment of PSHE. 4

5 Years 3, 4 and 6 remained fairly similar in their attitudes. Year 5 scores improved in both areas. These results perhaps suggest that the KS1 Keeping Safe Week may have had an impact of children s awareness and enjoyment of PSHE. Average scores for PSHE knowledge: EYFS - 4 rose to 5. Year rose to 4.25 Year 2-3 rose to 5 Year rose to 4.75 Year 4-3 rose to 5 Year 5-2 rose to Year rose to Average scores for enjoyment of PSHE: EYFS rose at 5 Year rose at 5 Year rose to 5 Year fell to Year 4-4 remained at 4 Year 5-3 rose to 4.25 Year remained at 3.5 I met with the School Council following Keeping Safe Week and asked the mentors from each year group to share their work and what they learned in the week. The work produced was varied, age appropriate, of a high standard and met the objectives well. The children were extremely enthusiastic about the week and particularly enjoyed having visitors. They could all share new facts and talk confidently about their learning from the week. What will we do next? I plan to continue to add more detail to each year groups PSHE curriculum to give staff as much detail as possible about what they need to cover. I am going to meet with the Science coordinator and check that the PSHE objectives match up with what each year group is doing in Science and then adjust them accordingly. I also want to add more detail to the SRE objectives (specific topics to address, suggested terminology to cover in each year) so progression through the year groups is clearer. I will be buying new resources to support SRE lessons so staff have what they need to deliver quality PSHE lessons. I hope to run the Keeping Safe Week again next year and encourage KS2 to take part. As part of the Transition Day this summer, each class will be doing a PSHE activity. The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside will be read to the children and the key message from the story discussed (i.e that worries go away if they re shared). Children will have the opportunity to write down any worries/issues/questions they have about the new year. As of September, each class will have a bag or box in which children can place their worries/questions and share them with their teacher privately. I will continue to monitor planning, work samples and talk to staff to check that the new objectives are working and helping everyone s understanding of PSHE. 5

6 Mary Pennington, Deputy Head Teacher says: The project has been very successful in delivering its aims to develop a clear PSHE curriculum and to raise the profile of PSHE. To deliver the Enhancement Project, Vikki has led by example through the cultivation of a strong learning culture within her classroom where her personal PHSE practice is exemplary. Vikki's strong and focused leadership has raised the profile of PHSE at St.Thomas of Canterbury and resulted in significant developments to the PHSE curriculum. Monitoring and evaluation evidence that both children and teachers now have an improved understanding. Through carefully devised PHSE training for staff and governors, Vikki has developed the curriculum and children's attainment in this crucial area of learning. Her astute liaison with other subject leads ensuring the cross curricular delivery of PHSE outcomes are effectively delivered. A particular advance has been the planning for specific PHSE lessons to complement the cross curricular delivery of the subject. The 'My Money' weeks, with the focus on financial capability, are now an established part of the mathematics curriculum. The involvement of the children in the selection of a child friendly title for this area of learning has enabled children to become more focused on their learning. The Keeping Safe Week was a tremendous hit with the children and the visitors, that supported learning, provoked much discussion and excitement amongst the children. Vikki is a proactive leader who will ensure the areas for development highlighted at the end of the School Story will be delivered and the profile of PHSE will remain high. 6

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