School Council: How Does PSHE Work at Bede’s?
The beginning of this academic year saw the evolution of the Charity Committee wing of the Bede’s Senior School Council.
As part of this process, we decided to expand our horizons to focus upon PSHE, opportunities for Reflection and a continued focus on all things Charity.
Under the leadership of Reverend Buckler, the committee of 10 pupils decided that PSHE at Bede’s could do with a fresh approach and a dynamic implementation that would incorporate our interest in media and technology as well as high quality keynote speakers.
Through significant research we realised more than ever that the presentation of the PSHE topics was massively important and must be delivered to a very high standard.
We wanted it to be real, relevant and reachable. We wanted PSHE to work.
After copious hours of discussing the divergent paths that could be taken in PSHE we came to a unanimous decision on what to do: we would have a three-pronged approach that would concentrate on Drugs, Alcohol and Substance Abuse in the Autumn term, Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in the Spring term and the vast and essential topic of Emotional and Mental Health in the Summer term.
It hasn’t been plain sailing as we had to start something which hadn't been seen at Bede's before, but this was an exciting endeavour due to the fact we had the creative freedom to do what we saw fit.
We knew that the school’s MyBedes extranet service would provide the platform for much that we planned to do, and that this was where we had to advance our efforts.
We populated the three topics within the PSHE page found on MyBedes, which took a lot of time as we had to scour the internet for compelling and high quality websites, videos and quotes that would help pupils in the chosen areas.
It was then decided that our online efforts should be backed up with a physical presence in the form of guest speakers. Over the last couple of terms we have therefore welcomed a variety of speakers to enter our school to talk on our topics.
Whilst all deserve a mention, we were particularly struck by the messages delivered by Mandy Saligari (who is currently presenting a ground-breaking documentary series on Channel 5) and Emma Coles who captivated the whole school’s attention as she talked about her own life as someone who contracted HIV some 20 years ago.
These talks have highlighted the key issues in a way that is both relevant and thought-provoking for 21st century teenagers.
We also filmed interviews between Vanessa, one of our School Nurses, and some Bede’s pupils on the key SRE issues. These video clips turned out to be excellent and were placed on MyBedes where they were discussed in tutor groups.
Vanessa also visited all the tutor groups across the Senior School to talk about SRE. She introduced the subject completely professionally with a confidence that allowed students to feel comfortable with a theme that is seen as potentially tricky to talk about.
The feedback has been immense and we are seriously grateful for the hours she has put in.
Hopefully with our continued efforts we will be able to reach every pupil within the school, allowing them to understand and engage with these key PSHE topics in ways that will help us all – both during our time at Bede’s and beyond, but our work is far from done.
As with all things, our PSHE programme will continue to evolve long into the future. Due to the involvement of the Reflection and Action Committee however, I am confident that the programme will only become increasingly relevant to the teenagers of today and tomorrow.