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Advice from a Tree


Stand tall and proud

Sink your roots into the earth

Be content

With your natural beauty

Go out on a limb

Drink plenty of water

Remember your roots

Enjoy the view


Ilan Shamir


Relationships and Health Education (RHE) and Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education are two separate curriculum subjects, one of which is a statutory part of the National Curriculum (RHE) and one which is not (PSHE). As both subjects are interlinked, they are sequenced under one curriculum overview; however, for clarity each is referenced under its individual heading.


Why do we study RHE?

Relationship and Health Education (RHE) became a statutory subject in all primary schools from September 2020. Today’s children and young people are growing up in an increasingly complex world and living their lives seamlessly on and offline. This presents many positive and exciting opportunities, but also challenges and risks. In this environment, children and young people need to know how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal and social lives in a positive way. The aim of RHE is to put in place the key building blocks of healthy, respectful relationships, focusing on family and friendships, in all contexts, including online. This will sit alongside the essential understanding of how to be healthy.



Why do we study PSHE?

PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) is a non-statutory subject, enabling schools to tailor their programme of study to meet the needs of their community. At the Opossum Federation, PSHE is part of the weekly timetable. It is a valued part of the whole school curriculum as it aims to equip pupils with a sound understanding of risk and with the knowledge and skills necessary to make safe and informed decisions. Within PSHE education, pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage their lives, now and in the future. PSHE education helps pupils to stay healthy, safe and prepared for life and work in modern Britain. PSHE can also help pupils to achieve their academic potential as it develops confidence and self-esteem, which increases pupil wellbeing. It helps pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to thrive, physically and emotionally to become healthy individuals, family members and members of society. By developing their knowledge of healthy relationships, pupils will be able to make informed decisions regarding the friendships and relationships they form with others.





The National curriculum states the purpose of RHE is to:

Relationships Education: The focus in primary school should be on teaching the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other children and with adults. This starts with pupils being taught about what a relationship is, what friendship is, what family means and who the people are who can support them. From the beginning of primary school, building on early education, pupils should be taught how to take turns, how to treat each other with kindness, consideration and respect, the importance of honesty and truthfulness, permission seeking and giving, and the concept of personal privacy. Establishing personal space and boundaries, showing respect and understanding the differences between appropriate and inappropriate or unsafe physical, and other, contact – these are the forerunners of teaching about consent.


The curriculum covers the following areas:

  • Families and people who care for me
  • Caring friendships
  • Respectful relationships
  • Online relationships
  • Being safe


Health Education: The focus in primary school should be on teaching the characteristics of good physical health and mental wellbeing. Teachers should be clear that mental wellbeing is a normal part of daily life, in the same way as physical health. This starts with pupils being taught about the benefits and importance of daily exercise, good nutrition and sufficient sleep, and giving pupils the language and knowledge to understand the normal range of emotions that everyone experiences. This should enable pupils to articulate how they are feeling, develop the language to talk about their bodies, health and emotions and judge whether what they are feeling and how they are behaving is appropriate and proportionate for the situations that they experience.


The curriculum covers the following areas:

  • Mental wellbeing
  • Internet safety and harms
  • Physical health and fitness
  • Healthy Eating
  • Drugs, alcohol and tobacco
  • Health and prevention
  • Basic First Aid
  • Changing adolescent body


The National curriculum states the purpose of PSHE is to:

PSHE education is a non-statutory subject but the DfE states that the PSHE programme on offer within schools should equip pupils with a sound understanding of risk and with the knowledge and skills necessary to make safe and informed decisions.



Through their study of the Opossum RHE and PSHE curriculum, we intend that pupils will:

1. Develop safe and healthy relationships.

Pupils learn what a relationship is and the attributes required to develop positive relationships; family relationships, friendships and relationships with other children and adults. Pupils will develop their knowledge and understanding of respect, honesty, personal space and boundaries, the right to privacy and consent and the importance of these within all relationships. Having secure knowledge within these areas will enable pupils to understand what a safe relationship is, equipping them with appropriate strategies when faced with challenges.


2. Gain knowledge and skills to make safe and informed decisions.

Through the RHE and PSHE curriculum, pupils will gain a wealth of knowledge for all aspects of their life (relationships, health, physical and mental wellbeing, economic wellbeing, online presence and safety). Pupils learn how to use this knowledge to make informed decisions to ensure that they can keep themselves safe in all areas of their lives. Pupils gain confidence in articulating their decisions and will be able to use knowledge to give reasons for these.


3. Gain knowledge about how to keep themselves physically and mentally healthy.

Pupils must be physically and mentally healthy if they are to achieve well throughout their education. Knowing how to keep themselves physically and mentally healthy is fundamental and will have a direct impact, both now and in later life. Knowing and applying strategies to maintain all aspects of health supports pupils to thrive; they have opportunities to practise these strategies and discuss the impact of them on their physical and mental health.


4.Develop financial knowledge and understanding to support them in later life.

We intend that pupils develop secure, age appropriate, financial knowledge, which will support them in later life. By learning about what money is, the different methods to pay for things, choices of how to spend and save money and how spending decisions can affect others, pupils will be able to make informed financial decisions.


5. Gain confidence and self-esteem.

Through the RHE and PSHE curriculum, pupils gain knowledge and understanding, which supports them in revealing who they are and the attributes that contribute to a positive and safe society. Identifying their personal strengths and areas to further develop enables pupils to make informed decisions, which in turn develops confidence and self-esteem. Having strategies to support positive physical and mental wellbeing will also promote pupils' self-esteem.


6. Become active citizens who will be aware of and take action on local, national and global issues

Through the study of PSHE, pupils gain a wealth of knowledge on relationships, physical and mental health, economic wellbeing, online presence and safety. Using this knowledge, pupils will develop an inherent understanding of how they can impact the environment in which they live, locally, nationally and globally. Through this, we intend for pupils to become consciously-minded of the world around them, understand others, and work towards making the entire globe a better place, beginning with issues which are relevant to their local communities.


Opossum Values

Through their study of PSHE and RHE, Opossum values are realised.


Being Respectful – demonstrating respect for themselves and others in the relationships they form


Being Aspirational – an expectation that pupils set high standards for themselves now, and in the future


Being Caring – demonstrating empathy within their relationships and demonstrating care for

their own physical and mental health, and that of others


Having Integrity - using factual knowledge and understanding to make informed decisions for themselves and others


Being Creative – using creative skills to enhance their mental health and wellbeing        


Being Community Minded – recognising that their actions have a local, national and global impact


Scope and sequence

The Opossum RHE and PSHE curriculum has been designed using six half-termly core themes, which are covered from Years 1-6. They are as follows:

  • Health and wellbeing: Physical and Mental Health
  • Health and wellbeing: Keeping Safe
  • Relationships: Family and Friendships
  • Relationships: Respectful and Safe Relationships
  • Living in the Wider World: Economic Wellbeing
  • Health and wellbeing: Ourselves- Growing and Changing


The core themes have been developed in line with the PSHE Association programme of study and the key themes within the RHE curriculum. The Opossum curriculum is a comprehensive programme of study, which integrates, but is not limited to, the statutory content. Statutory content is covered by learning opportunities for each key stage across the six core themes, as above. A high quality PSHE curriculum will also cover economic wellbeing, careers and enterprise education, as well as education for personal safety, including assessing and managing risk. These areas are mainly covered with the 'Living in the Wider World' and ‘Health and Wellbeing- Keeping Safe’ core themes – and though not yet statutory, is a vital part of the Opossum curriculum in ensuring it meets its overall aims and values.


As each of the six core themes are covered from Y1-6, it allows for clear progression across all areas. It also allows the themes to be revisited and built upon each year, ensuring pupils are building their knowledge and understanding in all areas.



One Decision- a teaching resource


One Decision is the main resource used to teach RHE and PSHE, focusing on using scenarios (videos) to promote knowledge and understanding through whole class and small group discussions. Pupils are encouraged to ask questions and discuss varying viewpoints within lessons. Other resources include those which have been created within the federation.





Learning in the EYFS forms the bedrock of the RHE and PSHE curriculum for KS1 and KS2. Children’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives, and is fundamental to their cognitive development. Underpinning their personal development are the important attachments that shape their social world. Strong, warm and supportive relationships with adults enable children to learn how to understand their own feelings and those of others. IN EYFS, Pupils are supported to manage emotions, develop a positive sense of self, set themselves simple goals, have confidence in their own abilities, to persist and wait for what they want and direct attention as necessary. Through adult modelling and guidance, they will learn how to look after their bodies, including healthy eating, and manage personal needs independently. Through supported interaction with other children they learn how to make good friendships, co-operate and resolve conflicts peaceably. These attributes provide a secure platform from which children can achieve at school and in later life. This is key learning for the development of RHE and PSHE within KS1 and KS2.



Whole school core themes have been developed to ensure progression across the curriculum. In KS1 pupils learn how to keep healthy, both physically and mentally by learning about key food groups and the impact of exercise on their bodies. ‘Zones of Regulation’ is a strategy to develop emotional wellbeing; this is a whole school approach. Pupils learn how to keep themselves safe within their local area (home and school) by learning about hazards and how to respond to them. When applicable, links are made with other subjects e.g. as Y2 pupils learn about the Great fire of London in History, they will learn about fire safety in PSHE. The valuable work of EYFS is developed further as pupils develop their knowledge and understanding of friendships, learning about the attributes of a good friend and how to resolve simple problems positively. This is fundamental to ensure that pupils engage in safe, respectful relationships, which contribute positively to their lives. Safeguarding is a critical aspect of the RHE and PSHE curriculum, supporting pupils to gain knowledge of how to recognise when a situation is not safe and how to gain support to keep themselves safe. Information on local contextual safeguarding issues is used to define this area of the curriculum. For example, given the prevalence of domestic violence, pupils are taught what a safe and healthy relationship is within the context of a family. 



The curriculum in KS2 further develops pupils' knowledge and understanding of how to keep themselves physically and mentally healthy. Pupils learn the effects of medicines, alcohol, smoking and drugs on the body with opportunities to discuss and debate these topics in detail. Contextual safeguarding is considered in the curriculum plans for KS2, e.g. pupils in Y6 learn about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Relationships education includes learning about the wide-ranging family structures, which are reflective of our wider school community e.g. same sex parents and multi-generational households. Developing opportunities for pupils to discuss and debate a wide variety of issues within the RHE and PSHE curriculum, enables pupils to develop an understanding of a range of issues which are relevant to the community in which they live e.g. FGM, same sex relationships, religious and cultural differences. Within UKS2 pupils have the opportunity to engage in project based learning which focuses on supporting their transition from primary to secondary school e.g. TfL workshops (safe travel), gang awareness workshops (contextual safeguarding).