Personal, Social, Health and Emotional Education (PSHE)


At Michaela, we believe in helping pupils to develop into well-rounded, confident and kind young people. Our PSHE curriculum aims to achieve this by exploring a broad range of topics that prepare pupils for the adult world.

Across years 7 to 9, pupils are taught about a range of important topics. Below is an overview of the curriculum topics covered.

In years 10 and 11, pupils spend time preparing for GCSEs and beyond. In PSHE lessons, pupils explore career options, post-16 courses, applications for further study and study skills.

Ensuring a safe environment

To ensure PSHE is delivered in a safe environment, lessons take place in dedicated periods each week with tutor groups. Pupils study topics that can be sensitive in nature in the comfort of their form room, along with their closest peers and form teacher, to provide them with the space to ask questions and debate challenging topics with confidence and sensitivity.

At the beginning of all PSHE units, pupils are reminded of the importance of listening carefully to others’ views and taking care to maintain a safe environment free of judgement and prejudice. All views are welcome, and it is made clear to pupils that any unkindness will not be tolerated.

Furthermore, we provide pupils with the space to discuss particularly sensitive topics privately should they wish. Pupils are invited to speak to their form tutor if they would like more information, or have any concerns, following any of the PSHE sessions they undergo.

When pupils are studying Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), they will be split according to gender in order to ensure a safe environment for pupils to explore topics and raise concerns where necessary.

Parental Rights

In line with the new statutory guidance for schools, all pupils will now receive sessions in Sex and Relationships Education (SRE). As per the guidance (available online here), parents have the right to request their child be withdrawn from some or all of sex education delivered as part of statutory RSE. Before granting any request, the school will discuss the request with parents and, where appropriate, with the child to ensure that their wishes are understood and to clarify the nature and purpose of the curriculum. In these discussions with parents, the school will outline the detrimental effects that withdrawal might have on the child. Once these conversations have taken place, the school will respect the parents’ request to withdraw the child, up to and until three terms before the child turns 16. After that point, if the child wishes to receive sex education rather than be withdrawn, the school will make arrangements to provide the child with sex education.

Parents will be informed by letter of any sex education classes that will go ahead, and should contact the school if they wish to withdraw.

Some aspects of sex education are taught as part of the science curriculum. Parents may not withdraw their child from these sessions. This content includes:

  • The male and female reproductive systems
  • The menstrual cycle
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Contraception

Parents do not have the right to withdraw their child from any other parts of the PSHE curriculum.

Curriculum Content in Depth

Year 7: Transition Phase

In the first week of year 7, pupils learn about the values of our school. We believe that our core values of resilience, personal responsibility, hard work and tolerance of others help our pupils to achieve their very best.

During the first week of year 7 (known as ‘Bootcamp’), pupils do not attend normal lessons, but receive exciting, interactive sessions covering a range of topics, including:

  • Working as part of a team
  • Building resilience
  • Being kind
  • Staying organised
  • Life at secondary school
  • Staying safe on social media

The aim of these sessions is to help pupils understand the ethos and values of the school, and to prepare them for the demands of secondary school. Transition to secondary school can generate anxiety for many young people. During ‘Bootcamp’, the school day is structured more closely to that of a primary school day. Pupils stay in their form groups for the day, and take lessons in one room. They get to know their teachers in a safe and calm environment whilst no older pupils are in school. This eases the pressure on our incoming year 7s, and helps them to feel at home in the school before the term really begins.

Year 7: Main Curriculum

Once pupils are embedded in the school and understand its culture, their exploration of PSHE begins in earnest. Over the course of year 7, pupils study the following topics:

*denotes topics from which parents have the right to withdraw their child.

Unit 1: Welcome to Secondary School!

  • How to be resilient (including mental health awareness and support)
  • How to make friends
  • How to be organised
  • How to be confident

Unit 2: Relationships

  • Healthy friendships
  • How to listen
  • How to communicate your feelings
  • Managing emotions in relationships

Unit 3: Healthy Lifestyle

  • Personal hygiene
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Self-care

As part of this unit, girls will receive a specialised session on periods. In addition, all pupils will receive a specialist session on Female Genital Mutilation.

Unit 4: Being a good citizen

  • Keep our streets tidy
  • Protecting the environment
  • Charity and volunteering
  • Handling emergencies

Unit 5: ICT Skills

  • Introduction to Microsoft Word
  • Sending and Receiving emails via Microsoft Outlook
  • Introduction to Microsoft Excel
  • Introduction to Microsoft PowerPoint

In this unit, pupils will carry out practical activities in our IT suites where they learn to apply their new technological skills.

Year 8: PSHE in Focus

In year 8, pupils explore some of the more challenging topics in the PSHE curriculum.

*denotes topics from which parents have the right to withdraw their child.

Unit 1: Growing Up

  • Puberty
  • Emotional changes
  • Physical changes
  • Personal hygiene

Unit 2: Risks and Staying safe

  • What risks do we face?
  • Crime and gangs
  • Social media
  • Peer pressure and bullying

Unit 3: Money

  • Responsible spending
  • Earnings
  • Payslips
  • Budgeting
  • Saving

Unit 4: Dangerous Habits

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Drugs
  • Legal implications

Year 9: PSHE in Depth

In year 9, pupils explore some of the more challenging topics in the PSHE curriculum in greater depth.

*denotes topics from which parents have the right to withdraw their child.

Unit 1: Relationships

  • Committed, loving relationships*
  • Marriage and civil partnerships*
  • Parenting*
  • Forced marriage*
  • Child Sexual Exploitation*
  • Abusive relationships*

Unit 2: Preparing for the world of work

  • The world of work
  • Improving your prospects
  • Writing a CV
  • Writing a Covering Letter
  • Behaviour in the Workplace

Unit 3: Money

  • Budgeting
  • Mortgages
  • Taxes
  • Interest
  • Credit cards
  • Debt

Unit 4: Being a good citizen

  • Voting
  • Political engagement
  • Charity
  • Volunteering

Unit 5: Sex and Relationships Education*

  • Sexual orientation*
  • Consent*
  • Grooming*
  • Pornography*
  • Sharing images online*

Key Stage Four

In years 10 and 11, pupils study two topic areas:

Furthermore, if we feel that pupils require additional sex education, we may take the decision to carry out additional sessions during these years. These sessions are devised and implemented on a case-by-case basis.