Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Dare to be wise

Promoting Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship at Durham Johnston

Section 2.1 of the NC framework document states every school must offer a curriculum which…..promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, and physical development of pupils’ and must also ‘prepare pupils…for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life’. If we are to deliver young people who leave Durham Johnston as independent, confident people with the skills and qualities necessary to be work ready, we also have to ensure that they are provided with the skills and knowledge to become an active member of society.

At Durham Johnston our ethos is for our young people tosupport and engage with providing a safe and respectful school community. By producing tolerant individuals that are willing to challenge stereotyping, bullying and discrimination in any form we create a school community that is inspirational, that our young people want to be a part of and creates a solid base for learning.

We place a great emphasis on the importance of delivering accurate and knowledgeable PSHE education and Durham Johnston is a member of the PSHE Association. This organisation is recommended by the Government as the leaders in the field of PSHE Education.

What is PSHE education?

PSHE education can be defined as a planned programme of learning through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives, now and in the future. As part of a whole school approach, PSHE education develops the qualities and attributes pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society.

The benefits to pupils of such an approach are numerous as PSHE prepares them to manage many of the most critical opportunities, challenges and responsibilities they will face growing up in such rapidly changing and challenging times. It also helps them to connect and apply the knowledge and understanding they learn in all subjects to practical, real-life situations while helping them to feel safe and secure enough to fulfill their academic potential.

PSHE education makes a significant contribution to children and young people’s personal development but is not synonymous with it.  The promotion of pupils’ personal development (which includes their social development) is a fundamental aspect of education and underpins other learning. Personal development is enhanced as children and young people develop the skills they need to grow and develop as individuals and members of society. All aspects of a child's experience at home, in school and out of school contribute to personal and social development. It is a function of all subjects and curriculum areas.

PSHE education contributes to personal development by helping children and young people to build their personal identities, confidence and self-esteem, make career choices and understand what influences their decisions including financial ones. Developing self-understanding, empathy and the ability to work with others will help young people to enjoy healthy and productive relationships in all aspects of their lives.

(Extracts from PSHE Association 2014)

How PSHE education is delivered at Durham Johnston

To establish a firm foundation for our young people in Year 7 they are taught PSHE and Citizenship as a compulsory subject for 1 hour a week. They are taught a wide variety of topics with each unit lasting approximately 6-7 lessons. The units covered are:

·         Identity and Diversity

·         Careers

·         Rights

·         Democracy

·         Healthy Eating

·         Financial Capability

·         Sustainability

To reinforce and develop the foundations established in Year 7 we use off-timetabled events for the remainder of the Year Groups. These events are expert led and are held at various times throughout the school year to obtain a balanced and informative delivery. This culminates at the end of the year with ‘Wellbeing Week’ which is a mix of educational, sporting, fun and unusual activities that are designed to  ‘..promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, and physical development of pupils’(Section 2.1 NC Framework 2013.

At Durham Johnston we promote the use of expert knowledge when delivering PSHE and Citizenship Education and recognise that the Ofsted ‘Not Yet Good Enough’ report stated that ‘In 80% of primary and secondary schools, outside speakers made a valuable contribution by bringing a wide range of expertise and life experiences to the PSHE education programme.

Relationship and and Sex Education (RSE)

As a great school gives students self-knowledge, so Johnston aims to produce self-reflective, confident and articulate young people at ease in the world. We work to make our community safe and welcoming, happy and supportive.  We offer education to meet each student’s needs. We share a common commitment to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. Johnstonians have an ethic of hard work, public service and global citizenship. We want to be central to the life of Durham City.

Young people learn about sex and relationships from a very young age.  Some of the things they learn are incorrect, confusing and frightening.  In a world where sex is used to advertise goods and services and celebrities lives become everyone’s business, we should talk to young people to help them to make sense of it all.

The DfE ‘Sex and Relationship Guidance’ (2000) recommends that ‘Effective sex and relationship education is essential if young people are to make responsible and well informed decisions about their lives’. The school has a key role, in partnership with parents/carers, in providing SRE.

Research has shown that young people who feel good about themselves, and are knowledgeable and confident about sex and relationships, are more likely to be more discerning in their relationships and sexual behaviours and to have fulfilling relationships.


The programme we follow at DJCS is based on national guidelines provided by the DfE and is sensitive to the age and experience of our pupils.  It is delivered mainly through the Science curriculum and Citizenship and PSHE lessons/events, as well as informally through other subject areas and the ethos of the school. A table outlining how Science contributes to Sex and Relationships Education can be found in the SRE Policy 2014-15 document.


As well as a whole school approach to SRE (see appendix four), SRE is also part of our National Curriculum Science Programme-see appendix two.  Other aspects are delivered mainly via PSHE lessons/events and Citizenship lessons/events but may also occur in other subject areas, such as RE.  SRE is taught mainly via:


  • Year 7 PSHE lessons: relationships and healthy lifestyles units. 
  • RSE specific events: relationships, feelings STI’s and contraception
  • Healthy Lifestyles events
  • Key stage three and four Citizenship units looking at relationships, rights, responsibilities, morals and values. (delivered termly during Tutor Intevention)
  • Key stage three Science (see SRE Policy 2014-15 document)
  • Key stage four science (see SRE Policy 2014-15 document)
  • Key stage three and four Citizenship units looking at rights, relationships, morals and values
  • Informally through other lessons dealing with relationships, sex and relationship issues and through the ethos of the school.
  • In the long term to introduce monthly PSHE discussion topic to be used by form tutor to generate class discussion and raise awareness of topic.


SRE involves consideration of a number of sensitive issues about which different people may hold strong and varying views. The school’s approach to SRE will be balanced and take account of, and be sensitive to, different viewpoints but will not be based on personal bias. We shall endeavor to have an approach that is educational, rather than one based on propaganda.  


The PSHE and Citizenship RSE is taught in the context of relationships using a variety of formal and informal strategies and opportunities.  This helps all young people to develop their self-esteem and emotional well being, thus helping them to form and maintain worthwhile and satisfying relationships, which are based upon respect for themselves and for others.