t Edward’s puts the academic, physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of our pupils at the heart of everything that we do. We are committed to helping young people to flourish, enabling them to fulfil their potential and become healthy and happy adults. Pupils have access to a wide range of support within the school’s pastoral care structures, and they participate in Personal, Social, and Health Education (PSHE) in each year of their education.
The primary aim of PSHE at St Edward’s is to equip pupils with the necessary decision making and reflective skills to enable them to lead fulfilling and healthy lives. It is the policy of the PSHE Department that a coaching style is adopted which allow pupils to reflect on their own values and decisions in a safe and structured environment. Pupils are reminded, in line with school safeguarding policies, about the support and help available to them throughout their time at the School.
In order to ensure an holistic approach to PSHE, the Head of Pupil Wellbeing works closely with the House teams, The North Wall Theatre and the Health Centre, in order to ensure that pupils have a range of resources and support systems available to them, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Click on the menus below to read more information about the tailored PSHE courses for the Lower School and the Sixth Form.
PSHE is timetabled for all pupils in Shells, Fourth and Fifth Forms (Years 9, 10 and 11) with one lesson per cycle.
Based on the guidelines published by the PSHE Association, the School follows a spiral curriculum in which the following themes are addressed each year, focussing on relevant and age appropriate issues and material:
- Autumn Term: Identity and Character; Cultural Criticism; Mental Health
- Easter Term: Sex and Relationships; Healthy Nutrition; Online Life
- Summer Term: Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking; Economic Management; The Wider World
In addition to this, PSHE sessions are run outside of the timetable to supplement the work and discussion done in classes, including:
- Mobile phone use
- Internet safety and social media awareness
- Gender stereotyping
Within lessons, pupils are invited to formulate the ground rules for healthy discussion and class dynamics, and they are often invited to reflect on their participation in class group work and discussion in the light of these guidelines.
The focus of the Shell, Fourth and Fifth Form curriculum is on a series of questions designed to encourage good judgements and healthy decision-making. This forms the basis of a character-based curriculum, which can then be applied to a range of scenarios. Pupils are encouraged to consider the different influences on their decision-making, from the media to more localised group dynamics, and reflect on how they also play into those dynamics. These skills and critical faculties are then applied to a range of issues.
For Lower Sixth (Year 12) and Upper Sixth (Y13) pupils, a series of seminars and lectures are run throughout the year with follow up material being distributed to house teams and tutors. The PSHE Department actively encourages feedback and input from the pupils, parents and staff, and seek to react to any need for adaptation at any stage. The focus for PSHE in the Sixth Form, as in the Lower School, is on the importance of decision-making and character formation.
The Sixth Form lecture series are delivered by a range of in-house and external speakers. Recently these have included:
- Mental Health
- Drug use
- Blood, bone marrow and organ donation
- The impact of ‘porn culture’ on relationships for young people
- Gender stereotyping and everyday sexism
- The political situation in Syria & the rise of IS
- Body image and self-esteem
- Alcohol awareness and safe driving
In addition to the lecture series, and as part of its commitment to equality education, St Edward’s was the first school in the country to develop a series of workshops with The Good Lad organisation (run through Oxford University), which runs a number of workshops in the School to examine positively the concept of masculinity and how to address complex gender scenarios.
These have been run variously with heads of houses, prefects, senior sports teams and year group assemblies. To compliment this, the Head of Pupil Wellbeing and the Senior HM have run a series of discussion seminars with Sixth Form pupils on positive leadership and empowering young women.
Below are some reflections from current Sixth Form pupils about the PSHE lecture and seminar series:
“I really enjoyed the LGBT+ talk by Elly Barnes from Educate and Celebrate. It was a great experience to learn about different people’s experiences of sexuality.” Recent Upper Sixth pupil
“I found The Mask You Live In [a documentary screening about cultural ideas of masculinity] interesting and thought it contained a lot of truth about gender expectations on men. It helped me to think about the importance of expressing emotions, seeking support and challenging stereotypes.” Recent Upper Sixth pupil
“Throughout my Sixth Form PSHE experience the talk which has had the most impact on me was Mandy Salieri’s talk on drugs, and the consequences of them on people’s lives and wellbeing. I particularly liked her perspective on the link between self-esteem, self-worth and drug habits.” Recent Upper Sixth pupil
The Peer Listeners are a group of Upper Sixth pupils who provide an impartial listening service for any pupils who need someone to talk to. They provide a friendly and welcoming space in which other pupils can seek emotional and social support. The Peer Listeners are trained by the School Counsellors in effective questioning and listening skills, and provide a vital service that is central to ensuring that pupils feel supported throughout their experience at the School.
Read about the experiences and important role played by the Peer Listeners in the school community.
Being a Peer Listener
Peer listening is distinctive as a form of support because the Sixth Form pupils provide a relationship of equality and can often relate to the situation at hand, and as such, are in a position to understand the social and cultural pressures being experienced by other members of the School. Below are some reflections by the current Peer Listeners about the significance of their role:
“To me, being a Peer Listener is about allowing people to say what they want to say without the pressure to conform to any cultural understandings of right and wrong that come with being part of a school community. Peer Listeners want to let you express your feelings without having to worry about being ignored or worried.” Peer Listener 2017, Sing’s
“Peer listening for me means being someone who, regardless of age, House or friendship group, will listen, empathise and treat sincerely the problems of someone in distress, no matter how big or small those problems may seem. A Peer Listener won’t always have the answers, but a Peer Listener will always provide that safe space for anyone who just needs someone to talk to.” Peer Listener 2017, Apsley
“Being a Peer Listener means giving time to help fulfil the social, emotional and spiritual needs of others, in order to ensure they not only get the help they deserve and need, but also feel comfortable in the process; knowing that they have a safe space where they can go to let off steam or have a chat in House.” Peer Listener 2017, Tilly’s
St Edward’s is a diverse school, with pupils from over 40 different countries making up our school community. We recognise the challenges that living in a country and culture a long way from home can bring, and so all international pupils are invited to be part of International Society. This takes the form of weekly International Teas and regular meetings of the International Committee. You can find more information on the International Committee by clicking on the tab below.
The International Committee
The International Committee is comprised of overseas students in the Sixth Form who organise the International Society social calendar and go into the houses to meet with the overseas pupils and ensure that they have someone to talk to and that their voices and views are heard. There are a number of members of staff who are involved in International Society and who are committed to ensuring that diversity is celebrated and that overseas pupils are able to flourish and grow at St Edward’s.
One of the pupil leaders of the International Committee comments: ‘The weekly International Society Tea intends to create a comfortable environment in which overseas pupils can chat, have some tea and cakes and mingle amongst other pupils who may be experiencing a culture-shock to the UK and Teddies.
‘It’s an amazing chance to ask questions about the School, learn about different cultures and, above all, recognise some friendly faces around school. The welcoming regular meetings allow for there to be a support network for pupils who may have never stayed abroad and away from their parents, and it provides the opportunity to forge new and long-lasting friendships.
“The International Society termly trips and dinners aim to give overseas pupils the opportunity to meet together, celebrate their cultures and experience British culture. These events offer a fresh perspective outside of Teddies and Heathrow Airport! We have so far had themed-dinners and Sunday traditional lunches by the riverside, and are planning trips to Thorpe Park and Brighton.”
Navigating adolescence can provide many joys and challenges for pupils and the parents and teachers who support them. Under the menu below is a range of resources designed to give parents guidance about some common issues for adolescents. We encourage parents to share their insights and communicate with us regularly in order to offer the highest level of support possible to the young people in our care.