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At Muscliff, statutory RSHE (Relationships and Sex Education) objectives are taught through our PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) curriculum. You can find our PSHE/RSE policy on our policies page (see link below).


On this page, you’ll find our progression maps that outline what we teach in each year group… but before we get to what, let’ focus on why:


Our Muscliff Approach to PSHE

As a school that prides itself on our ‘Carefully Crafted Curriculum,’ it is only right that our PSHE provision is also rooted in our underpinning values. We wanted to offer our children a PSHE curriculum that builds on the statutory content outlined in the National Curriculum - a curriculum that is both relevant to our context here at Muscliff (supported by our five values) but also an education programme that equips pupils with a sound understanding of the world around them. This includes understanding how to make safe and informed decisions.

PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) and RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) are crucial in children’s learning and development. At Muscliff Primary School, our aim is to give children the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy and independent lives, to be informed, active and responsible citizens. 


Features of our PSHE Curriculum

What a lesson looks like:

Our PSHE Curriculum is framed around a key question and takes the form of oral discussion. We love to talk at Muscliff! And since we are committed to developing children’s oracy skills through our teachers’ research on dialogic teaching*, it is fitting to use discussion to deliver our PSHE objectives.


*Dialogic teaching is a pedagogical approach that capitalises on the power of talk to further students' thinking, learning, and problem solving. Teachers at Muscliff are researching oracy.


Since our curriculum is framed around our Beautiful Text, we use our lead book as a vehicle for discussion. In this way, children can approach a PSHE objective or concept and first discuss it through the eyes of a lead character in the context of the book. This provides a ‘safe’ starting point. Then, we reflect on what we could learn from this situation, consider what we might do if we were in that position and begin to identify with the character. This in turn enables our children to understand how this objective applies to their own lives.



Under guidance issued by the DfE (Department for Education) since September 2020 RSE teaching in schools has been compulsory. At Muscliff Primary School, we believe that to be effective, RSE should be taught within a broader PSHE education programme. RSE enhances and is enhanced by learning related to themes including anti-bullying; keeping safe on and off line; keeping physically and mentally healthy, learning about drugs, alcohol and tobacco; and the development of skills and attributes such as communication skills, managing peer pressure, risk management, resilience and decision making. 


Again, by tackling these key themes through our Beautiful Text, children are able to approach the learning through the context of a character at first – this establishes a safe environment on which to build our discussion. Then we are able to relate the learning to the children themselves.


For example:

Here’s a typical RSE Year 1 objective from the National Curriculum = 2e) How to recognise who to trust and who not to trust, how to judge when a friendship is making them feel unhappy or uncomfortable, managing conflict, how to manage these situations and how to seek help or advice from others, if needed.


The lead text when this objective is taught in Year 1 is The Ugly Duckling


During this lesson, we would discuss the Ugly Duckling’s problem and offer him advice. We would talk about what the characters around the Ugly Duckling should do. Once a safe environment has been established through the eyes of the character, the talk would move to think about us. We aren’t the Ugly Duckling but we may experience similar problems…


Here’s another example:

In Year 6, an objective we teach = 6j) It's common for people to experience mental ill health. For many people who do, the problems can be resolved if the right support is made available, especially if accessed early enough

This lead text we use when this objective is taught in Year 6 is Frankenstein.

During our reading of the text, we track Victor Frankenstein’s mental health and specifically highlight significant events that are a factor in his mental ill health. Through the book, it is easy for children to identify the signs of stress and use Victor as our example. Children feel, at first, more comfortable talking about a book character. This creates a safe and supportive environment so that children can then relate the importance of mental health to our own lives.


The impact of our approach in PSHE is that children are able to engage with our curriculum through the characters and key events in the books we read – we establish a safe environment. This enables children to empathise and then relate the learning to themselves. Children then understand what it means to be informed, active and responsible citizens. 






The aims of PSHE and RSE at Muscliff are to:  


  •  Support the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of all children 
  •  To provide information which is easy to understand, relevant and appropriate for the needs, age and maturity of the children 
  •  Begin to prepare the children for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life  
  •  Encourage children to value themselves and others  
  •  Encourage children to acknowledge, appreciate and respect difference and diversity 
  •  Teach children how to make informed choices 
  •  Develop children’s understanding of what constitutes a safe and healthy lifestyle 
  •  Provide a framework and a safe environment in which open and sensitive discussions can take place 
  •  Promote safety in forming and maintaining relationships  
  •  Support children in identifying, understanding and managing their feelings and emotions 
  •  Provide children with the opportunities to consider issues which may affect their own lives and/or the lives of others  
  •  Help children to identify the characteristics of healthy relationships, how relationships may affect mental and physical health; and how to stay safe online  
  •  Prepare children for puberty, and the changes that will happen to their bodies 
  •  Help children develop feelings of self-respect, confidence and empathy 
  •  Create a positive culture around issues of sexuality and relationships  
  •  Teach children the correct vocabulary to describe themselves and their bodies 


The PSHE and RSE curriculum was developed in consultation with staff, pupils, parents and governors and is based on key questions that prompt discussion and learning which is revisited and built upon as the children move through Year 1 – 6. The KS1 curriculum builds upon the knowledge and skills developed in the EYFS through PSED.  



Assemblies and End-of-the-Day Reflection:

Whole school assemblies are also used as a vehicle to reflect on key themes within our PSHE curriculum. Each assembly starts with a carefully selected book. The book prompts children to reflect on the theme presented. Teachers have access to these books and are able to continue the discussion during our end of the day reflection.


Next steps:

We are also developing the ‘end points’ of our PSHE curriculum to help us assess where children have been successful. Debate and key questions will form an essential part of this although we are aiming to align these end points to our English writing curriculum.



We have also created progression maps for each of our five values. See below. These progression maps outline age-related expectations (determined by us) and will eventually be used alongside our PSHE curriculum assessments.

PSHE/RSE Whole School Overview