In Life Studies, pupils follow an integrated programme of PSHEe (Personal, Social, Health and Economic education) and RE (Religious Education) throughout the school, with elements of the Citizenship curriculum added in Years 7 & 8.
Through their learning explorations in the topic areas detailed below, and their resulting increased knowledge and understanding, children are encouraged to consider their attitudes and values as a continuing theme. Although the PSHEe, Citizenship and RE elements are timetabled as separate modules, in reality many themes are common to all three, enabling the statutory requirements of RE and Citizenship to be met.
The PSHEe curriculum is modelled on resources which are Quality Assured by the PSHE Association to be fully compatible with the new curriculum requirements from Sept 2014.
Pupils in all year groups receive a talk on the physical aspects of SRE (Sex and Relationships education) from the school nurse, from Puberty in Year 5 and 6, through to Contraception and STIs in Year 7 & 8. Please see our SRE Policy for further detail).
In year 7, the physiological aspects of human development and reproduction are addressed in science lessons, as part of a general topic on plant and animal reproduction. At the same time, the pupils will follow complementary modules on human relationships in the PSHE component of Life Studies.
SRE Parent Focus Group
The Life Studies faculty hosted a Parent Focus Group on June 25th 2015, as a follow up to the recent parent SRE (Sex & Relationships Education) questionnaire, the results of which are detailed in the Focus Group presentation, which was presented to parents.
Faculty Leader Annie Wright was particularly delighted to have the input of such well-informed and interested parents, who gave their broad support to our new approach and draft policy, with one or two caveats that are now being addressed.
Thank you to all parents who sent in one of the 77 questionnaires we received back. This was a tremendous response, and the results have been carefully collated and are being used to inform future planning in this area.
We hope to run more events of this kind in future.
At Marden Bridge RE is taught through a multi-faith approach, reflecting the reality of diverse backgrounds in Britain today. Believing RE should now be made part of the National Curriculum, and that a multi-faith syllabus should become obligatory instead of advisory, Marden Bridge welcomes the new (although as yet non-statutory) guidelines, “A curriculum framework for Religious Education in England” published in October 2013 by the Religious Education Council (REC), and are working to fully align our taught programme with the aims of the guidelines.
“All children need to acquire core knowledge and understanding of the beliefs and practices of the religions and worldviews which not only shape their history and culture but which guide their own development. The modern world needs young people who are sufficiently confident in their own beliefs and values that they can respect the religious and cultural differences of others, and contribute to a cohesive and compassionate society.”
The RE department regularly and continuously teaches explicit literacy skills, in both lessons and within marking feedback.
Experiential RE through mind, body, and spirit skills is a strong focus and in Philosophy for Children, all year groups receive sessions at intervals. In Key Stage 2, this takes the form of a Values lesson, unrelated to the current topic, whilst in Key Stage 3, the topic is explored through selected argumentative dialogues in a Philosophical Enquiry framework.
“Alongside the subject’s contribution to pupils’ mental, cognitive and linguistic development, RE offers distinctive opportunities to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. RE lessons should offer a structured and safe space during curriculum time for reflection, discussion, dialogue and debate. Lessons should also allow for timely and sensitive responses to be made to unforeseen events of a religious, moral or philosophical nature, whether local, national or global.”
Mindfulness has been taught since 2012 and will be taught in 2014 to the ‘Mindfulness in Schools’ programme. Y6 are offered a taster programme just before SATs, and the full programme is offered from Y7 onwards, with frequent opportunities to do short practices within lessons. Read more
Tai Chi is currently introduced as part of the Year 5 Buddhism topic, and returned to thereafter as appropriate. Values common to all world religions can be taught metaphorically through the movements.
In Year 6, Hillheads Community Church is visited, and we are currently developing other opportunities for Church leaders to come into school to enrich the teaching of Christianity. All pupils visit Whitley Bay Baptist Church for the Christmas Carol Service and we are also trying to establish links with the new Whitley Bay Mosque. Our eventual aim is to have a dual visit, where we walk to both places of worship with both Muslim and Christian leaders accompanying us, to send a strong interfaith message to pupils and to foster community cohesion.