Curriculum Statement

​The intent of the PSHCE curriculum is to help foster a growth mindset by giving our students the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy, resilient, safe and prepared for life and work during their time at Upper Wharfedale School and beyond. 

There is growing evidence (as outlined in the PSHCE Association report ‘Making the case for PSHCE education) to suggest that ‘the skills and attributes acquired through PSHCE education have a significant impact on pupils’ academic achievement, employability and future life chances’.  This positive impact on both the academic and non-academic outcomes for our pupils underpins the value of the subject at our school and our overall school vision of successful lifelong learners, confident individuals and active and responsible citizens. Although PSHCE is taught through discreet lessons, it also underpins all activities, assemblies, educational visits and extra-curricular clubs. 


The subject is led and primarily delivered by the subject leader for PSHCE, with support to deliver provided by a small and highly experienced team.  PSHCE is an evolving subject, and its content is updated regularly to reflect the changes in national guidance (such as tweaks to our Sex and Relationship curriculum following the publication of the compulsory RSE curriculum for teaching from September 2020).  The subject is also informed by feedback from the Health and Wellbeing advisor at the local PSHCE subject leader networking events, and other PSHCE subject leaders.  Furthermore, pupil voice in school and through the North Yorkshire GUNY survey (Growing up in North Yorkshire) helps provide feedback on the effectiveness of the topics within the PSHCE curriculum. This formal feedback, together with informal feedback (within lessons) is used to update and adapt content and resources regularly.  

Further evolutions to the content of the subject can be at short notice as a result of international, national or local news events; such as the terrorist attack at the Arianna Grande concert in Manchester.  

The delivery of the subject takes place through curriculum time, with an hour a week of PSHCE delivered in small groups to all students at key stage 3.  This is further enhanced by tutor time activities, dedicated assembly time and deep learning days which are delivered to key stage 3 and key stage 4 students. Furthermore, mental health week in May is used as an additional opportunity to promote the mental wellbeing and resilience of our students. Students take part in workshops looking at meditation, mindfulness, coping with stress and additionally, self-harm in year 9. 

Our programme of study aims to develop skills and attributes such as resilience, self esteem, risk management, team working and critical thinking in the context of three core themes: Health and wellbeing, Relationships, and Living in the wider world (including economic wellbeing and aspects of careers education).   

The topics covered (outlined below) broadly fit into a theme, however there are crossovers within lessons for the topics as indicated in the table. 

These three themes fit into the wider school curriculum of Maths (finance), Science (health and wellbeing + relationships), RE (living in the wider world + relationships) and ICT (living in the wider world); with PSHCE allowing students to apply their knowledge from these subjects, and discuss how to appropriately and safely respond in given situations.  

The PSHCE curriculum at Upper Wharfedale School builds on learning acquired at KS1 and KS2 where students learn about the importance of healthy eating, basic hygiene, staying safe online, basic finance (including identifying money), staying safe in the home, British values, identifying parts of the body, as well as bullying and how it affects mental health. 

The topics at KS3 and KS4 follow a spiral curriculum, building on knowledge and skills taught in previous years (both at this school and prior). 

For example the Relationships theme starts with students learning about puberty, periods and personal hygiene. These changes in the body are built upon in year 8 (with students now more aware of their body) with topics such as body image, self-esteem and different types of relationships being explored and discussed in group and class discussions. In year 9 this leads to students being given the opportunity to explore, clarify and if necessary challenge their ideas about sexual relationships, STIs and contraception as well as consent. At key stage 4, students are able to build on prior knowledge and understanding within the relationships theme, by exploring topics such as grooming, pornography and healthy relationships including domestic abuse. These topics are essential discussions to be had in the PSHCE lessons, as they allow our students to understand how to keep themselves resilient, safe and prepared for life (as outlined in our intent for the subject) and fits into our school vision of confident individuals and active and responsible citizens.  

The impact of our year 8 relationships unit can be seen through our pupil voice where students expressed how useful they found the content of the lessons. Comments included “I think it helped me personally get over things that happened in the past” and “It helped me to understand how people’s online comments can affect others”. 

The PSHCE department remains committed to preparing our students for life and work during and beyond their time at Upper Wharfedale School. Through respect and tolerance for the viewpoints of others, students are able to develop their emotional cultural capital – being given the opportunity to express, manage and display emotions such as empathy and compassion in a safe environment.  


PSHCEe incorporates the study of Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education with Citizenship. Students are allocated 2 hours per fortnight to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes needed to keep themselves safe and healthy; in preparation for life and work in modern Britain. Skills and attributes such as team working, critical thinking, risk management and self-esteem form an integral part of the lessons.

Students focus on …

Year 7

In year 7, students cover the following topics within the three core themes of PSHE: 

Living in the wider world  Relationships  Health and Wellbeing 
Transition and careers (including different types of jobs, reflecting on own interests and researching jobs)  RSE – puberty, periods, personal (including dental) hygiene* 

*links to health and well being 

Negative effects of smoking  

The laws, health effects of smoking cigarettes and e-cigarettes (including passive smoking) 

Personal Finance (how to create a budget, and the benefits of using one, the importance of saving and money management)  Organ donation 

The importance of organ and tissue donation, including how to address loss and bereavement through case studies 

*Links to Relationships 

Year 8

In year 8, students cover the following topics within the three core themes of PSHE: 

Living in the wider world  Relationships  Health and Wellbeing 

Using the Start website, researching jobs tailored to individual interests, and apprenticeships 

RSE – different types of relationships, qualities in future partners, Self- esteem*, body image*, effects of social media and the media*, staying safe online 

*links to health and well being 

Negative effects of alcohol and Volatile Substance Abuse 

Health effects of excessive alcohol consumption, UK laws around alcohol, the dangers of volatile substance abuse 

Personal finance   

The importance of budgeting in a family, different methods of payment such as debit and credit cards 

Human Rights 

Exploring the history of human rights, and how these have been abused through case studies 

Year 9

In year 9, students cover the following topics within the three core themes of PSHE: 

Living in the wider world  Relationships  Health and Wellbeing 
Careers (GCSE choices, Employability skills, preparation for work, writing a CV)  RSE – contraception*, STIs*, sexting, the law, consent, homophobia*  

*links to health and wellbeing 

The dangers of drugs – including different classes of drugs, the effects and laws with possession and supply, peer pressure 
British Values – including online safety, the dangers of radicalisation and extremism* (and how the process can begin) + the pyramid of hate 

*links to health and wellbeing 

Personal Finance – including money management, savings, benefits, the economy 


PSHE is run through Deep learning days, assemblies and tutor times in year 10 and 11. The topics covered build on prior content covered at key stage 3. 

Living in the wider world  Relationships  Health and Wellbeing 
Careers Delivered through careers week in year 10. Includes mock interviews with employers, writing application forms and updating CVs from year 8.  RSE – Grooming*, Domestic Abuse*, FGM*, the laws and misconceptions about sexual relationships through pornography 

*links to health and wellbeing 

Knife crime the laws around carrying knives/blades + exploring the dangers using case studies 
Refugee education + Prevent  GCSE RE Different Christian and non-religious attitudes to: marriage, divorce, families, sexual relationships*, homosexuality and contraception* 

*links to health and wellbeing 

Resilience linked to GCSE pressures and how to handle upcoming changes as they move towards life outside school 
E-safety with police involvement* *links to health and wellbeing 


KS3: Work is peer assessed, self assessed and teacher assessed, with a focus on skills and knowledge rather than grades.

KS4: Work is peer assessed, self assessed and teacher assessed, with a focus on skills and knowledge rather than grades.  


KS3: Pupils are given homework regularly. This could include researching information, completing worksheets or creating presentations. 

Support at Home

​Student can access resources using the Start Profile website, the iCould website and the NHS website