Personal, Social & Health Education at St Michael’s gives your child the opportunity to explore values, attitudes and beliefs.

Knowledge and understanding are developed around a variety of topics, looked at through the life of a child at the school. A large part of this process is developing the skills that will be vital in many facets of life while growing up: decision-making, problem solving, effective communication and inter-personal skills.

Hand in hand with this is the desire we all have for our children to stride through each day of their life with a healthy emotional robustness. This can be seen in children who are self-aware and can manage their feelings.

Through all these learning experiences, we encourage the children to be reflective, both academically and socially and ask them to use this knowledge to prepare for the future ahead of them.

Knowledge and understanding of the world around us is even more important as the world shrinks, especially virtually. Children growing up now are bombarded with information and images that previous generations would not have had access to. What the children see and read about is important to understanding within the context of differing cultures, beliefs and religion.

The value system developed by a growing child will be their anchor throughout life. It is important that they have the opportunity to explore the reasons people hold the values they do. Having a strong value system will lead a child to live honestly and with integrity; whether these are “British” values or the values of a “global citizen”, we look to inform our children about the existing values that are held by others. These values include democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.

Both in and out of school, we teach the children that respect is an important part of the growing process. Respect is earned through action and sometimes, in-action. Allowing children the opportunities to develop these respectful relationships is key to enabling them to develop into healthy, robust and respectful children. Through an external provider, our Year 6 cohort are trained in peer mediation, with a small group given further training to help the children resolve their differences, if they arise. This is an ideal way for the children to lead on the development of mutual respect.

Throughout the programme, the children are taught about the importance of strong, healthy relationships. They are also taught what options are available to them if relationships do not progress the way they were expecting them to. We also teach specific Sex and Relationship education to our Year 6 and 8 cohorts. This links with the Science curriculum, which also informs the children about these topics.

In the world of 24 hour information and seemingly uninhibited access to the private lives of friends and celebrities, having children learn about being safe whilst navigating this cyber-world is vital. We use PSHE and our ICT (Information and Communication Technology) lessons to achieve this. The PSHE lessons focus on the behaviours around those using the technology, and ICT lessons focus on the hardware and software around this access. This will include social media, grooming, texting and sexting, images and much more. We also bring into school experts in the field of e-safety to deliver talks to the children and parents about how to use this fantastic resource safely and most effectively.

At St Michael’s, we pride ourselves on our compassion and capacity to help others less fortunate than ourselves. We have regular, scheduled charity days, where we support selected charities through various means; dressing up, cake sales, sponsored events, etc. Each year, many thousands are raised for these good causes. The charities themselves are selected by the School Council. This council is made up of representatives from each form in the Prep School and meets every other week to not only discuss charity events, but any other burning issues that the children would like to bring to the attention of the school.

The concept of Growth Mindsets originally comes from the work of the psychologist Carol Dweck. Through years of research, she found that it is not just our abilities and talent that bring us success, but whether we approach our goals with a fixed or growth mindset. The children have explored her theories through PSHE and thought about how they can apply them to develop their own growth mindset and to become more successful in their own lives at school and beyond. Through exploring growth mindsets, children learn that;

  • their intelligence can be developed by embracing challenges
  • their talent and ability is not fixed, they can develop it
  • the harder you work, the more accomplished you become
  • the harder the problem, the more effort is required
  • taking risks is exciting and can help you to learn new things
  • it’s OK to get things wrong, a fail is a first attempt in learning

Matthew Syed’s book ‘Bounce’ is highly recommended if you are interested in finding out more on this subject. Through PSHE children are also involved in reflecting on their own effort using our effort grading criteria. They enjoy this process and the opportunity to think about how they can take their effort, and growth mindset, to the next level.

Children are taught about the democratic process and how this affects the running of a country or state. Within school, your child will be given the opportunity to put themselves forward for election to posts with responsibility. Children are also given the opportunity to cast their vote. The law of the land, both civil and criminal, is taught to the children. The mirror of this within the school is the pupil-created Code of Conduct. This is referred to by the children when reflecting on behaviour that has fallen below that expected.

We teach our children the importance of human and children’s rights. They discuss the 30 articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and what impact these will have, both on those who live with them, and those who do not.

The ability to control a budget and have awareness and respect for the value of money is incredibly important. Some children will already be operating a budget through their pocket money, whilst others will not realise yet that money can be saved for a rainy day!

We endeavour to give our children the understanding that money, for the vast majority, is a finite resource and needs to be looked after. Within small groups, we give our children a career and a salary and they have to plan how to live within those means. They need to discuss the priorities of living, over the luxuries that are nice to have. Not always an easy decision to make.