The PSHE curriculum at St Thomas More Catholic High School is collectively known as “I AM”.
The programme name was carefully chosen to more accurately reflect the programme we offer and the Gospel values we want our school community to aspire to.
As detailed herein, all year groups from year 7 to 11 are provided with one hour a fortnight of discrete I AM lessons.
Lessons are supplemented by our form tutor programme, assemblies and collective acts of worship.
There are six common themes of I AM delivered across the year groups:
1. Health & Well-being: This includes educating our pupils on healthy lifestyles including diet, physical fitness, the dangers of alcohol, smoking, drugs and illegal substances. It also includes modules on mental health including mental health awareness, coping strategies, resilience, improving self-confidence and self-esteem.
2. Enterprise Skills: This includes financial awareness and employment skills such as how to write an effective CV, interviewing skills, workplace behaviour and etiquette.
3. Diversity, Prejudice and Bullying: Linked to Health & Well-being, this area looks at discrimination in all its forms including disability, mental health, body awareness and both bullying and cyberbullying.
4. Peer Pressure: Looks at influences that have an adverse effect on our children and how to manage them from propaganda, reliability of information, bias, and gang culture.
5. Safety: How our pupils can keep safe (particularly on-line), how to recognise risks and what to do if they find themselves at risk
6. Identity and Self Esteem: As its name suggests this theme concentrates on helping our pupils understand their identity and worth in the world as well as raising our pupils’ confidence and esteem.
All the units and resources we use in delivering the I AM programme have been vetted and approved by the UK PHSE Association.
In addition to the I AM programme the school also delivers statutory Relationships & Sex Education (RSE), taught in discrete lessons through the RE department at age appropriate times; a letter providing more detail regarding this provision is sent to parents and carers at the appropriate time.
eSafety is also delivered as part of the IT curriculum through the Technology department.
THE OVERARCHING CONCEPTS, ESSENTIAL SKILLS AND CHARACTER ATTRIBUTES DEVELOPED THROUGH THE I AM PROGRAMME
I AM Overview KS3 Map
I AM Overview KS4 Map
The I AM scheme of work encompasses three core themes throughout the year:
Health & wellbeing
Living in the wider world
Personal identity, Healthy lifestyles, Keeping safe
Rights and responsibilities, Economic wellbeing, Employability and enterprise, Career progression
Healthy Relationships, Relationships & sex education*, Relationship safety, Valuing difference
* Parts of the relationships element of RSE is taught through I AM lessons but as a faith school the Sex Education component of RSE is taught through the RE department. However this topic is not the exclusive domain of RE being also taught through the Science curriculum who for example, teach the following areas:
Y7 - Introduce sexual reproduction. Male and female reproductive organs. The journey of the sperm. The development of the foetus. Puberty and menstruation.
Y8 - Relationships between species in different habitats (referring to human relationships).
Y9 - Students are taught the difference between sexual and asexual reproduction
Students cover the following types of hormonal/non-hormonal types of contraception and need to be able to evaluate each one: oral contraceptives (the pill etc), injection, implant or skin patch, barrier methods such as condoms and diaphragms, intrauterine devices, spermicidal agents which kill or disable sperm, abstaining from intercourse when an egg may be in the oviduct, surgical methods of male and female sterilisation.
Students are taught about hormonal methods to treat infertility including IVF and fertility drugs – their advantages and disadvantages as well as the associated ethical issues. Students are taught about the menstrual cycle in more detail than KS3 and also the role of hormones in developing secondary sexual characteristics.
In the 'infection and response' topic students are taught about gonorrhoea and HIV as examples of sexually transmitted diseases. They are also taught about how condoms can prevent their transmission.
Y10 - Inheritance of characteristics comes from both parents because of sexual reproduction. Ethical/social issues surrounding embryo screening are discussed
The specific content of the I AM programme is constantly under review, as it should be given the constantly changing environment our students live in. It is not enough to simply teach pupils about the issues covered in the suggested subject content. It is vital they have the opportunity to explore their attitudes, values and beliefs about them and to develop the skills, language and strategies necessary to manage these issues should they encounter them in their lives. As a consequence, lessons encompass dedicated time (referred to as “Totem Time”) for students to share, discuss and challenge, where necessary, their viewpoints.
If you have any questions about the I AM programme please contact Mr O’Neill at the school who will be happy to help.