The Excel Academy recognises the importance and necessity of a comprehensive PSHE provision. Through a planned provision across both key stages The Academy addresses the DfE guidance which stipulates that:
‘Schools should seek to use PSHE education to build, where appropriate, on the statutory content already outlined in the national curriculum, the basic school curriculum and in statutory guidance on: drug education, financial education, sex and relationship education (SRE) and the importance of physical activity and diet for a healthy lifestyle.’
In planning the PSHE curriculum at The Excel Academy, consideration has been given to a number of factors to ensure the content is appropriate and meaningful to our students.
The provision is closely linked to the overarching Academy ethos of Pride and Respect, and addresses several key areas which are central to effective PSHE and citizenship education, and which make a strong contribution to students’ Character development. These include:
- promoting equalities
- preventing and tackling discrimination and bullying
- cultural awareness
- preparing students positively for life in modern Britain
- addressing issues of exploitation and challenging extremism and radicalisation
- helping students to keep themselves healthy and safe
- providing effective and impartial careers information, education, advice and guidance.
Through consultation with the PSHE Association several principles have been considered when planning the PSHE programme:
- Excel is committed to a positive approach when delivering which does not attempt to induce shock or guilt, but focuses on what children and young people can do to keep themselves and others healthy and safe and to lead happy and fulfilling lives.
- Excel offers a wide variety of teaching and learning styles within PSHE education, with an emphasis on interactive learning and the teacher/provider acting as facilitator within the group.
- Excel provides information which is realistic and relevant and which reinforces positive social norms.
- Excel recognises that the PSHE education programme is just one part of what a school can do to help a child to develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and understanding they need to fulfill their potential. The Academy links the PSHE education programme to other whole school approaches, to pastoral support, and provides a setting where the responsible choice becomes the easy choice.
- Excel recognises the importance of an embedded PSHE education to ensure children and young people have positive relationships with adults and feel valued and supported at all times.
- Excel recognises the importance of providing opportunities for children and young people to make real decisions about their lives, to take part in activities which simulate adult choices and provide opportunities where they can demonstrate their ability to take responsibility for their decisions.
- Excel recognises the importance of providing a safe and supportive learning environment where children and young people can develop the confidence to ask questions, challenge the information they are offered, draw on their own experience, express their views and opinions and put what they have learned into practice in their own lives.
- Excel recognises the importance of developing the students into well-rounded individuals through the Character education/ Character challenges produced.
In Year 7 and Year 8, provision is mapped into the curriculum with 60-minute lessons. Year 7 receive 3 hours over 2 weeks and Year 8 receive 2 hours over 2 weeks.
In addition to this timetabled provision, the students also participate in the ‘dropdown’ SMSC days that The Academy operates, which students will have two within the year. During these sessions provision is flexible and Heads of Year can make judgements, based on issues at the time, as to the content of the sessions for their year group. In addition, there is a strong focus on developing Literacy and Numeracy skills. The English and Maths departments plan a series of activities for the students which provide cross curricular links between these two core subjects and P.S.H.E.
In Year 9 and 10 students have 2 hours over 2 weeks and they cover ICT, Ethics and PSHE on a rota basis so that all three areas are covered within the year. Students will also focus on Character development looking at various challenges to broaden their skills.
In Year 11, it is delivered in two drop down days and through activities within form time. This allows the provision map to remain flexible so that specific issues can be addressed should they arise at particular points in time. The Academy has developed strong links with a number of external providers and agencies who bring a ‘real life’ context to the programme, and coupled with form tutor delivery it ensures the content is broad and balanced.
Quality Assurance of the provision is key to ensuring standards remain high. Monitoring involves learning walks, ‘drop in’ observations, student voice questionnaires, Head of Year and SLT monitoring. Regarding the provision of Careers Education and IAG, regular meetings occur between the schools dedicated Careers Advisors, the Careers Co-ordinator and the SLT link to ensure the Academy Action plan is being implemented.
Character Challenges at The Excel Academy is an awards system which offers students a range of character building opportunities that enhance their learning and development. The Challenge system aims to encourage and support many important qualities in students such as leadership, citizenship, moral purpose, sense of community and collective responsibility. Many of the Challenges criteria have at their core the British Values of; Democracy, The Rule of Law, Individual Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance.
At Excel, we have 6 key values and we aim to ensure all students develop specific character attributes during their time at Excel.
We want all students to understand the importance of being:
1 Respectful – to follow The Excel Way and to show a strong moral purpose
2 Resilient – to work hard, to persevere, to seek challenge and to be curious about their learning
3 Ambitious – to aim high, to learn new things, and to have a desire to develop their cultural capital
4 Confident – to be articulate and courageous, to engage positively with others and to take on leadership roles
5 Reflective – to be able to take responsibility for themselves and develop skills to deal with issues and situations
6 Proud – to be proud of themselves, their achievements, and being a part of The Academy community
During PSHE and Form Tutor time, students have been working through their Character Challenges and this can be seen on their ACE review, which combines the Achievement, Character and Excel Way (Behaviour and Attendance standard). This is reported upon every term.
The types of challenges the students can undertake include:
- Join a club and attend each week / Hold a leadership role
- Have the right mind-set for learning
- Properly equipped
- Good behaviour scores
- Be on time for school and lessons
- Lead / participate fully in a charity activity
- Research next steps for University / College
- Apply successfully for a role on the School Leadership Programme
- Read at least 7 books each term.
Year 11 are expected to continually participate in the challenges which involve charity, responsibility roles, developing their understanding of future career options. They are expected to show Pride and Respect in all they do as role models to the rest of the academy.
Our Leadership and Volunteering system allows students to demonstrate and improve these Character traits and ultimately improve their employability skills.