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Intent: The Big Ideas in PSHE at AHS

Atherton High School has taken a thematic approach to Secondary PSHE education, covering three core themes taught across all five-year groups. Our ambition is to support young people to thrive as an individual, as a family member and as a member of the community Knowledge and skills are acquired by students to manage their lives now and in the future through a well-planned and comprehensive PSHE curriculum. The themes are:

  • RSE- Relationships & Sexual Health education
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Living in the Wider World
Theme Curriculum Content NC Subject
RSE -Relationships & Sexual Health
  • Family
  • Respectful relationships
  • Online & media including internet safety.
  • Being safe
  • Intimate sexual health
  • The Law & sex & relationships
Computing Education

e-safety, with progression in the content to reflect the different and escalating risks that young people face as they get older. This includes how to use technology safely, responsibly, respectfully, and securely, how to keep personal information private, and where to go for help and support.

Health & Wellbeing
  • Mental wellbeing
  • Internet safety
  • Physical health
  • Drugs, alcohol & tobacco
  • First Aid
  • Adolescent body
  • Personal safety & health
Science education

Reproduction in humans; for example, the structure and function of the male and female reproductive systems, menstrual cycle, gametes, fertilisation, gestation, birth and HIV/AIDS.


PE Education

PE teaches pupils to develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities, are physically active for sustained periods of time, engage in competitive sport and activities and lead healthy, active lives.

Living in the Wider World
  • Economic wellbeing & financial capability
  • Careers Education (CEAIG)
  • Citizenship
  • British Values
Citizenship education Teaches knowledge of:

  • Democracy, government, how laws are made and upheld.
  • Political and social issues.
  • Evidence, debate and make reasoned arguments.
  • Responsible citizens, manage their money well and make sound financial decisions.

Students learn about these themes in each year, spiralling back to and revisiting topics to build their knowledge in an age-appropriate way. The content covers all areas of the Statutory Guidance for PHSE and the guidance for Sex and Relationships Education (September 2021.) The content has been selected to ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for pupils to develop knowledge and skills through a programme that is relevant and appropriate to the ethos of the school, the needs of the pupils and most importantly, developing our pupils to be prepared for life beyond Atherton High School.

The teaching of PSHE at Atherton High School is even more crucial when considering the local context. The PSHE Atherton is based within the Wigan borough, which has disproportionally high levels of admissions to A&E for mental health, tooth decay and substance abuse among teenagers. Our curriculum has been designed to reflect the local context with a focus on preventive education and tailored to meet the needs of our pupils. We believe the teaching of PSHE will lead to greater personal health and wellbeing as pupils acquire knowledge and skills to successfully manage their lives.

PSHE at Atherton is a comprehensive curriculum that seeks to engage pupils through the study of topics that are very relevant to their daily lives. Our PSHE lessons allow learning to take place in a safe environment, with students being taught by their form tutors, whom have a pastoral duty of care to their students and have built positive relationships with their students over an extended period. This allows the discussion of sensitive topics and gives the students to feel comfortable enough to really engage and to ask any questions they need to. PSHE lessons are frequent with timetabled lessons and are also supported by ‘drop down days’ to allow for greater depth and consolidation. Furthermore, staff receive regular CPD training to enhance subject knowledge, keep up to date with the latest changes in statutory guidelines and how to teach complex subject matter in PSHE.

Science, computing, PE, Citizenship and LRE are subjects that contribute to, and complement, PSHE curriculum themes: Relationships Education, RSE and Health Education. Please see the subject ‘Learning Journey’ for further information.

 How the Personal, Social and Health Education curriculum contributes to the school’s curriculum intent:

  1. Knowledge-rich through the examination of real-world situations and the development of an understanding of complex topics such as sex and relationships, drugs and alcohol, mental health as well as how to live a healthy lifestyle. Knowledge is developed in these areas, not only through the examination of situations but also in the exposure of the students to facts, data and information in biology and sociology.
  2. Vocabulary-rich through the deeply varied subject matter and its relevance to the lives of the students. The students are introduced to new terms on a regular basis to help them describe the new knowledge they are learning. In addition, this new vocabulary is reinforced regularly as each year all the topics are developed and therefore the vocabulary is built upon with new vocabulary.
  3. Aspiration – Preparation for the wider-world and especially a broad range of careers. This is achieved through classroom lessons as well as Industry Day, in which Year 10 are given the opportunity to work with people from a wide range of careers across multiple industries and allow them to consider every possibility open to them, as well as receiving a comprehensive PSHE education to help prepare them for their chosen career.
  4. Character -students are consistently encouraged to make positive choices in their personal decisions and they are also educated on the impact of their decision, both positive and negative, on the people around theme and the wider world. The PSHE curriculum explores managing and responding to challenging situations, including risks, pressures, making informed decisions, knowing whom, how and when to ask for help.
  5. Love of learning– students can explore topics which do not necessarily fit into traditional academic subjects but allows them to ask questions which might not be appropriate in any other setting and therefore engage fully with their education, making it a more rounded experience for them.

The PHSE Learning Journey

Parental Consultation

Every year we hold a PSHE parental consultation meeting, to explain the PSHE curriculum and to provide an opportunity for parents and carers to feedback and shape the PSHE policy.


Assessment is vital for effective PSHE. Teachers use formative assessment to measure progress and the increasing knowledge pupils are gaining and to inform teaching. This is supported by milestone assessments that assesses how much students know and remember. This feedback provides an opportunity for pupils to reflect on what they have learnt and its implication for their lives.

Assessment supports the school’s evaluation of the PSHE curriculum to monitor and review the effectiveness of PSHE provision.

If you have any questions about PSHE, please contact the school at enquiries@atherton for the attention of Mr McNamara.

“Self-esteem is as important to our well-being as legs are to a table. It is essential for physical and mental health and for happiness.”

Louise Hart (Author of The Winning Family)