Pupils at Solihull School are being taught how to cope with the stresses, anxieties and challenges of life in and out of school, ahead of new Government guidelines on relationships and sex education (RSE).
The Department for Education is encouraging schools to adopt the new curriculum in the coming school year, before it becomes mandatory from September 2020.
Solihull’s wellbeing and personal development (WPD) department is ahead of the game, having been fully operational for almost a year. It focuses on mindfulness, resilience and personal development, as well as addressing traditional personal social health and economic education (PSHEE) topics such as relationships, sex education, crime, drugs, alcohol and gender equality and diversity.
All Solihull pupils from year 7 onwards will have at least one timetabled period of WPD per week.
“Our wellbeing curriculum is now in place throughout the school,” said Solihull School headmaster, David Lloyd. “Coupled with initiatives such as our counselling provision, parent seminar programme and resilience training for parents, it is certainly assisting our pupils in helping them fulfil their aspirational potential in an incredibly caring environment.”
Each year has a tailored amalgamation of the latest PSHEE themes, including mindfulness practices and training in resiliency. These are delivered by the specialist WPD team, members of which also teach a combination of calming strategies and reflection on thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
The school hopes this will better prepare pupils for any challenges which may lie ahead of them, and reports that feedback from children, staff and parents has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We hope this initiative will give our pupils important tools to support themselves with throughout school and in the future,” said Louise Rooney, head of WPD at Solihull. “There has already been a hugely positive response and some really encouraging results.”
“We are seeing better communication about mental health and even more empathy and understanding in the school community,” added Rooney. Pupils are learning strategies which will help them throughout their life when coping with a difficult situation.
“The wellbeing curriculum creates a forum for exploration, where pupils can ask questions such as ‘who am I?’ and ‘what are my values?’, and learn how their decisions affect the world.
“Our pupils will discuss accountability, responsibility, ‘ethical upstanding’, character development, citizenship skills, careers, online identity and digital literacy.
“Pupils also receiving training to learn skills to help with the stress of exams and we are bringing in specialist speakers for topics such as gender identity and money matters.”