From years 3 to 11 every pupil has the opportunity to attend these sessions which are taught by a team of dedicated and experienced staff. The subject matter varies according to the age of the student, and recently they have included:issues around friendship, being more confident and assertive, decision making and exploring The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. We also invite speakers to come and talk to the pupils and these have been very successful indeed. The year 10 and 11 pupils have had two separate sets of speakers, one session on how to prevent rape and the other, a very powerful presentation on knife crime. Meanwhile the year 6 pupils explored the issue of vandalism especially relating to their world.
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) deals with real life issues that affect children and young people; their families and their communities. This year, the school has provided one lesson per week, for year groups 6 to 11 to explore, discuss and debate many aspects of this subject area including health, relationships, growing up, dealing with risk, career choices, study skills, citizenship and personal finance issues. The PSHE programme at Ballard is also intended to further enhance the strong pastoral care provided at the school. Our aim is for PSHE education to equip children with the knowledge, understanding, attitudes and practical skills to live healthy, safe, productive, fulfilled and responsible lives. It is hoped that our PSHE programme encourages them to use their initiative and make careful, informed choices. It also enables our pupils to reflect on and clarify their own values and attitudes, and explore the complex and sometimes conflicting messages they receive in the media and world around them.
The personal development of pupils is a vital part of their Ballard education. The PSHE programme of study provides a context to promote the wellbeing of pupils and, for older pupils, provide drugs, sex and relationships education. Personal wellbeing helps young people embrace change, feel positive about who they are and enjoy healthy, safe, responsible and fulfilled lives. Pupils will be able to recognise and manage risk, take increasing responsibility for themselves, their choices and behaviours and make positive contributions to their families, schools and communities.
Our sessions have been based in the Performing Arts Centre and we have had many interesting debates and discussions on a whole range of issues from “coping with stress” in year 7 to “financial management” in year 11. The year groups have responded really well to the various, and sometimes challenging aspects of the programme.
It has been a privilege to invite several visitors to the school to support the sessions. Lindsay Wilson, from the Teenage Cancer Trust, returned to do a really interesting session on “safety in the sun,” as part the Trust’s “Shun burn” campaign. Lindsay suffered from cancer herself as a teenager and is keen to help youngsters better understand cancer and its effect on individuals and families. Did you know that the recommendation is to apply sun cream, of at least SPF 30, three times a day?
We also welcomed Hampshire police to do some sessions with both year 7 and year 11. The year 7s enjoyed meeting local officers and finding out about their daily routines. The sessions were very interactive and the pupils enjoyed trying on the police clothing, looking round the police vehicles and using the hand-cuffs! The Year 11 pupils experienced another interactive session, as part of Hampshire Constabulary’s FAKE campaign (Firearms and Knife Education). Pupils covered issues such as knives and the law, the possible consequences of carrying a knife or any toy gun, and strategies to avoid becoming a victim.
Following a successful first year, our plan is to enhance the programme further. We are keen to invite local MPs to visit the school to assist in our work on citizenship. New sessions on enterprise will hopefully be enhanced by visits from local business leaders and entrepreneurs.