Life Studies (PSHE) & British Values

Mission Statement

Life Studies (Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE)) education at The Duchess's High School contributes to the development of the skills required to support our young people to thrive as individuals and as part of our community. We wish to equip our students with the qualities needed to live healthily and safely, and to be able to make informed choices and decisions. Through reflection our students will be able to demonstrate their progress, plan and set targets, and develop talents for future employability.

Courses Offered & Schemes of Work

Pupils in years 07 and 08 receive one Life Studies (PSHE) lesson per week. Additionally the whole school, years 7-12, will recieve one extended tutor time per fortnight 'stop the clock' where they will study Life Studies topics. The link below shows the curriculum plan. The seven year programme is planned to show progression as pupils move from year 07 to 10 to 13. These are usually delivered by the pupils form tutor however some aspects are covered from outside speakers.

Life Studies Curriculum Plan Summary 2017-2018

Pupils in all year groups also receive a PSHE curriculum through their tutor periods and weekly assemblies - PSHE Tutor Time Audit 2017

The three core themes of the PSHE curriculum will also be covered across all curriculums in all year groups.

For further information please see the PSHE Curriculum Audit 2017.

British Values

At The Duchess’s Community High School we recognise the multi-cultural, multi-faith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom. We understand the vital role we play in ensuring that groups or individuals within the school are not subjected to intimidation or radicalisation by those wishing to unduly, or illegally, influence them.

We follow equal opportunities guidance which guarantees that there will be no discrimination against any individual or group, regardless of faith, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, political or financial status, or similar. We are dedicated to preparing students for their adult life beyond the formal, examined curriculum and ensuring that we promote and reinforce British values to all its students.

British Values - What does this mean?

You may have heard in the press recently that the Department for Education is encouraging schools to promote British Values. At the DCHS we are committed to serving our community. We recognise the multi-cultural, multi-faith and ever-changing nature of the United Kingdom. We aim to prepare students for their adult life beyond the formal, examined curriculum and ensure that we promote and reinforce five key British values. These are promoted in a variety of ways in and out of the classroom. In this article I will highlight just some of the examples that have been taking place in school which seek to instil British Values.

Democracy: As our school endeavours to progress, pupil voice questionnaires take place to drive future changes. The school council (re-launched in an innovative and inclusive format), has introduced new student societies that have been set up and run by pupils.  Numerous societies have been established, with the fundraising group immediately evidencing the power of student groups in their planning and advertising for the school Christmas jumper day. Their efforts saw instant success as they raised £882.00 for Save the Children. The sixth form have also completed a great deal of charity work, with events raising money for the North Northumberland Hospice and the British Heart Foundation. It is most gratifying to see the effort our pupils show in helping the wider world around them. Pupils in the school recently voted for the Northumberland Youth Cabinet and Parliament which is run by young people, and provides opportunities for 11-18 year-olds to use their voice in creative ways to bring about social change. With the support of our pupils, Annabelle Cooper (Year 13) was voted into the Youth Parliament and has recently had her voice heard in the House of Commons.

The rule of law: At the heart of what we value are; Honesty, Empathy, Ambition, Respect and Tolerance.  In year 11 pupils are taught a unit called War and Peace in their RE lessons. Through this they learn about different religions and their laws. They learn to understand that the law of the land takes precedence over religious law.

Individual liberty: Pupils are encouraged to make individual choices, knowing they are in a safe and supportive environment. Recently we have been running activities as part of the anti-bullying week. Pupils have also had assemblies about e-safety following the national e-safety day. In year 11, during PHSE lessons, pupils have been discussing consent and understanding its importance through a group activity of consequences.

Mutual respect: All year 9 pupils take place in the Face to Faith programme during RE lessons. One of the key principles taught is that of respect. The principles learnt in lessons can then be applied to the whole school community. Respect is also a key theme that runs through the year 09 PSHE curriculum.

Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs: The Face to Faith programme also furthers tolerance to all faiths, races and cultures, so all pupils fully understand the idea of tolerance. This tolerance supports the British Culture and will support our pupils to live in harmony in their future lives.

Additional opportunities, created by the RE department, have given students a platform to discuss topical issues with their peers from other cultures and countries from all around the world, in live video conferences. To date, the school has successfully taken part in around 30 video conferences. This work is complimented by work with the Anne Frank foundation that has been promoting tolerance as part of the Holocaust Memorial Day. An exhibition from the Anne Frank foundation took place last half term and was run by year 09 pupils. The pupils were empowered to facilitate guests from all year groups in comprehending the consequences of intolerance.

The Duchess's Community High School British Values Statement

Education is the Way to Plant the Seeds of Peace


The Duchess’s Community High School deplores terrorism of every kind and of any radical ideology. We will do anything we can to protect our pupils from the threat of terrorism and we will not tolerate extremism in our school.

Our zero tolerance approach to extremism and terrorism includes interventions, exclusions and involving third parties such as the police.

We support and adhere to the latest guidance from the Department for Education which requires schools to actively promote fundamental British Values and to ensure that pupils are encouraged to regard people of all faiths, races and cultures with respect and tolerance.

The Duchess's Community High School Anti-Extremism Policy

Relationship and Sex Education

Relationship and Sex education (RSE) is carried out for all pupils and is mainly delivered in Life Studies (PSHE) lessons in years 09, 10 and 11. This is delivered jointly by tutors and external organisations. Our RSE curriculum is planned to show progression and ensure that content is relevant to the age group been taught. Our framework allows for the matter to be discussed openly, honestly and respectfully, acknowledging fully differing attitudes and values. Our approach follows government guidelines and best practice. The sessions aim to promote confidence in personal decision making and self-esteem so pupils are equipped with the required skills to make safe and informed decisions. Parents will be informed in writing when students are about to embark on aspects of RSE and will have the right to withdraw their son/daughter from lessons as considered appropriate. Your Director of Learning is available to discuss any matters of concern.

Relationship and Sex Education at The Duchess's 2017-2018

Relationship and Sex Education Policy 2015

Department Highlights

Alongside the PSHE work that takes place in the classroom the DCHS offers a vast array of extra-curricular activities that develop pupil’s interpersonal skills. From weekly clubs at lunchtime to whole term commitments to productions these help prepare our pupils for their exciting future ahead. This is also supported by the weekly further enrichment programme offered to all pupils in year 9.

We also have a range of different outside speakers that come into assembly to speak to pupils in all different year groups.

Themes also run across all tutor teams in morning tutor periods for example this week pupils across the school have created posters to mark national Anti-Bullying week.

Pupils are also learning to become responsible citizens by raising money for others less fortunate than themselves. This week the new society set up to raise money for charity have been busy putting up posters and organising the Christmas Jumper day which will take place on Friday 12th December to raise money for Save the Children. All pupils in assembly and form time will be learning about the importance of Save the Children’s work.

PSHE Update July 2017

We are coming to the end of a very busy year for Life Studies with year 9, 10 and 11 being taught one lesson per week in their tutor group. The start of Year 9 saw them focussing on team building skills resulting in some fantastic model islands being produced. This allowed them to develop key skills and get to know their peers and form tutor. When learning about multicultural Britain, and how we can celebrate diversity and appreciate the benefits of living in a multicultural society, their discussions showed great maturity. They have worked together to produce some outstanding work on how we can create an environment where we treat others equally, with dignity and respect and seek to promote race equality at all times. Community @ NE66 have visited school to deliver relationship and sex education sessions which again Year 9 have engaged with very responsibly and maturely.

Year 10 have covered a wide range of topics in their Life Studies lessons including relationship and sex education, British values and a range of Moral and Spiritual topics. They have discussed these challenging moral issues with empathy and understanding. They are currently learning about careers focussing on laws in the work place and writing applications which will help prepare them for the world of work they may be entering quite soon. Think For Yourself came into school and delivered session on Child Sexual Exploitation. The interactive sessions got year 10 thinking about the signs of grooming and exploitation and what to do if they suspect they, or a friend, are at risk. They discussed these difficult topics maturely and gained a good understanding of what’s healthy and acceptable in relationships.

Year 11 were guided through a diverse range of themes in their tutor groups. There has been a great deal of excellent work accomplished on careers and options for the future. This has been essential in preparing our year 11 pupils for their next steps and has significantly helped students as they engaged in their post 16 options choices. Year 11 have also accomplished work to prepare them for their G.C.S.E’s; investigating revision techniques and learning to deal with exam stress, hopefully impacting on their success in the summer. Relationship and sex education sessions were similarly scheduled into the curriculum, with groups being animated but mature in their conduct. A wide variety of additional topics have also been delivered including drugs and alcohol, healthy living and relationships and the criminal justice system, all of which have broadened our pupil’s awareness and understanding of the wider world around them.

The careers program in each year group has been greatly enhanced by Mr Allenby’s work with Pathfinder Northeast which enabled all pupils to take part in a day long careers event in March. All students were given the opportunity to visit a range of local, North East and further education providers who offered the chance for students to gain a hands-on experience of what their business does in an informal, friendly atmosphere. This event was a great success and raised awareness for our young people on the range of career options available to them, and in particular by focussing on developing employability and real-life skills.

On a whole school scale, a wide range of PSHCE themes have been delivered in tutor time and assemblies. This has included a wide range of external visitors coming into assemblies to deliver topics which has widened our pupil’s knowledge of the real world around them.

Democracy is in action within our school, with pupil voice being used to help evaluate the Life Studies curriculum. These will help me further improve lessons and tailor curriculums to meet individual pupil’s needs. The responses have shown that pupils really appreciate their Life Studies lessons and learn new skills which help prepare them for life beyond school. One year 10 pupil when asked why she has Life Studies lessons replied- ‘To prepare us for the future and give us a valuable insight into society, and the way the world works. To teach us about the impact we can have in society and vice-versa.’ I am proud of the wide and varied curriculum that is delivered in Life Studies lessons that prepares our pupils for so much more than their academic success.

The fundraising committee, sixth form senior students and lower school have continued to demonstrate their hard work by fundraising for various charities throughout the year. Lower school have raised over £1500 for Show Racism the Red Card- £584.99, Save the Children- £129.89 and Red Nose Day- £810.02  Our Head Boy planned and delivered assemblies to all year groups to raise funds and awareness for the Young Rotarians. The fundraising group which has been up and running for over a year now, is mainly run by sixth form students but with a group of year 11 involved, so they will take up the reigns, when Edris and Jamie go to University.

Rohan McLean, a year 13 pupil, was awarded a prestigious bravery award for apprehending a youth who had attacked both his dad and an elderly person. The award was presented by Sharon Scott the Chief Superintendent for Northumberland. She talked of Rohan going above and beyond to help keep his community safe. It is most gratifying to see our pupils learning about and helping the wider world around them.

Staff Contact List

Mrs J Patten (PSHE Co-ordinator)


Mr A Rogers (Assistant Head teacher and Head of Key Stage 3)


Mrs K Hopper (Key Stage 3)


Mrs S Turvey (Key Stage 3)


Mrs E Gair (Key Stage 4)


Mrs L Sweet (Key Stage 4)


Mrs C Fleet (Key Stage 5)


Mrs A-M Carter (Key Stage 5)


Mrs D Drummond (Head of Sixth form)