Our aim is for all children to develop into independent, confident, successful learners with high aspirations, who are resilient and know how to make a positive contribution to their own community and wider society. We uphold and teach pupils about British Values: democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs.
Our PSHE curriculum follows the DfE statutory guidance that comes into effect in September 2020. It is underpinned by three core themes:
Health and Wellbeing
Living in the Wider World
Our PSHE curriculum is not left to chance, and is taught explicitly through weekly direct teaching under the three core themes. These are mapped out progressively across the whole school from Early Years to Year 6 and enables pupils to learn and build upon its content, allowing them to make progress as they move through the school. Assemblies are also used to re-visit key PSHE themes, school rules and British values.
The PSHE curriculum however goes much wider than its lessons and is well embedded within the culture and ethos at Easterside Academy. We actively promote the ‘School Games Values’ – passion, self-belief, respect, honesty, determination and teamwork, and our school rules ‘safe’, ‘ready’ and ‘respectful’ through all aspects of school life.
Alongside PSHE we also embrace ‘The Thrive Approach’. This is used to support pupil’s social and emotional development both at a targeted individual intervention level; as well as a whole class bespoke PSHE teaching and learning tool that is focused on meeting the needs of the pupils in each class. This is done with the THRIVE online screening tool that screens individual / group / class development in order to identify the ‘gaps’ and needs. The THRIVE approach supports staff to work in a targeted way with pupils who may have struggled with difficult life events / Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) to help them reengage in life and learning. If pupils have been emotionally thrown off track, either temporarily or over longer periods, THRIVE helps us to understand the needs being signalled by their behaviour and gives us targeted strategies and activities to help them reengage and develop in areas where they may be struggling. We have a THRIVE room within the academy, that along with our outdoor spaces, provide THRIVE approach activities and resources. It also provides a ‘safe space’ for pupils.
The academy also promotes a ‘Restorative Approach’ philosophy that aims to build the Easterside Academy community and to repair and strengthen relationships within its community. Pupils are encouraged to engage in restorative conversations and recognise the impact that their actions and behaviour can have on others and how to put things right. We believe that by using this restorative approach we are giving pupils the skills to independently make better, more responsible and more informed choices in the future.
We provide opportunities for children to develop ‘pupil voice’ such as: school forums, school council, Rota Kids, Eco Warriors, circle times and regular ‘check in’s’. The school also has trained ‘Headstarters’ who are advocates for pupil mental health and wellbeing within school.
For some of our children, additional support around PSHE development may be needed either in the short or long term. To support this the academy has an outstanding ‘Care Team’ made up of a fulltime ‘Pupil Well-Being Leader’ and three part time ‘Pupil and Parent Support Advisors’. The Team work with children on an individual basis (mentoring); they carry out small group wellbeing interventions (such as the KOALA club/Change for Life/Good to be Me/Happy Outdoors Make Us Happy Indoors/THRIVE) and support and deliver whole class PSHE lessons when and where identified. The Care Team liaise with outside agencies such as Social Care, CAMHS, REACH and independent play therapists to ensure the right targeted intervention is in place to support.
Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) / Outdoor Learning is a key feature of the academy’s curriculum. Staff recognise LOtC as an effective strategy that supports PSHE development; affects children, their wellbeing and readiness to learn as well as improving their levels of progress and attainment. Easterside Academy is an ‘Active School’ and is part of the ‘Tees Valley Sports Active Schools Partnership’, working to promote active, healthy lifestyles including mental health.