Learning for Life (RSE and PSHE)

What Learning for Life means at St Thomas…

Learning for Life/PSHE is all about living in our world today in a safe, healthy and happy way

Learning for Life at St Thomas...

Relationships and Sex Education and Personal Relationships and Personal, Social and Health Education

This is what we teach under the umbrella title of “Learning for Life” and is an important area of our curriculum which aims to give children the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead healthy lives and be responsible citizens. It forms an integral part of a child’s development, and is brought into our cross-curricular activities and discussions in such a way as to ensure that knowledge and understanding of oneself and others is developed.

You can learn more about our approach in Miss Pedlingham’s webinar which can be watched here. As a parent please do contact us if you have any questions around this curriculum area or would like more information.

The children grow more confident about aspects of their own lives, their self-esteem, their health, their beliefs, their relationships with others, and their ability to express their feelings and to cope with life’s problems. We encourage pupils to participate in these discussions and activities, which lead to a greater awareness of their social and moral responsibilities.

Drugs education forms a programmed part of our curriculum in Year 6. Relationship and sex education (RSE) is also part of the curriculum and takes the form of a programme with a moral framework related to the age and maturity of the children taught. The programme we follow is one approved by the Diocese and parents are invited in to view the materials before the children in Years 5 and 6 are taught the subject in the summer term. Our policy is available below.

Both PSHE and RSE are also taught as part and parcel of our Science and RE curriculums and in our focus on the Gospel values which encapsulate what the Government has defined as British Values. The Government has reinforced the need “to create and enforce a clear and rigorous expectation on all schools to promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”

These values are very much part of what we teach and how we are at St Thomas’ and are explained in more detail here.

Useful Links


Learning for Life (PSHE and EPR) is taught across the school using the Coram Life and Ten:Ten resources online. By using these resources and planning, all lessons are taught in line with the curriculum.


Learning for Life is important to enable children to discuss their feelings and share thoughts about current affairs which affect them and their future.


Learning for Life is linked with our Religious Education curriculum, some areas of learning need careful consideration before teaching to link with the Catholic ethos, and this requires a review to ensure all areas covered are taught in line with the school’s RSE policy, particularly in Years 5 and 6.


All Learning for Life lessons are linked with the Golden Threads, they are adapted to incorporate the current thread; reinforcing the importance of each concept within the learning challenges of the lessons. The school’s Golden Rule, ‘We Treat Others As We Would Like To Be Treated Ourselves’ is also linked into the planning and teaching of Learning for Life. One of the expectations of a Learning for Life lesson is to listen to each other and respect each other’s views and thoughts.


Our locality can be referenced in the planning and teaching of Learning for Life, making links to our community and modern day living. Learning for Life links to St Thomas’ ‘Time to talk’ 1:1 sessions; giving the children the confidence to identify how they are feeling and discuss with their teacher.


Learning for Life covers areas including diversity, moral, spiritual and cultural issues, the children will be encouraged to reflect on their learning through collaborative discussion and activities further promoting our S=P+A+C+E for Me and S=P+A+C+E for EVERYONE ethos.


We refer to PSHE as Learning for Life, as decided by School Council, which helps the children to understand the learning challenges and how they relate to their lives and the lives of others.


In KS1, Coram life is being used alongside the teacher’s own resources, whereas in KS2 Learning for Life is predominantly planned using only Coram life planning.


Using Coram life ensures there is no cross over in year groups, although some areas of learning do reoccur with changes adapted to that year group. The Ten:Ten resources have been allocated by the Learning for Life Lead to ensure a thorough coverage.


Work is recorded in their Learning for Life books in both KS1 and KS2, these are marked against the learning challenge and steps to success. Once marked and assessed next steps can be identified to ensure all children have a full understanding of the learning challenge/question. Floor books will be used in year groups to record any class work which has been planned and developed as a whole team.


Learning for Life is not always recorded as some lessons are based on reflective discussion, this is an important part of teaching Learning for Life, the children are encourage to identify ranges of emotions and work together in groups to share thoughts which are then discussed as a class. There are opportunities for challenges and to go deeper, especially within the class based discussions. The use of A,B,C (add, build and challenge) is used in lessons which can be used as an assessment for learning in line with the St. Thomas 10.


Children have the opportunity to live out what they have learned from their Learning for Life lessons every day; the priorities of Learning for Life are for children to recognise the world around them and how to take these tools and adopt them according to their own relationships. In every lesson there are opportunities to rediscover the learning challenge from a series of lessons, as the lesson planning on Coram life is designed alongside the curriculum, this ensure a thorough coverage and meaningful opportunities to rediscover prior learning.


All staff are there to support children who may find it difficult to be vocal about their feelings and to share how they are feeling or any views they have with a trusted adult.


The impact of Learning for Life can be monitored not only by the children’s behaviour but also pupil voice. If we feel children have not fully understood the learning challenge, we can address this as a short session in class or through another rediscover challenge. This can present itself as a group discussion on friendships or a reminder of the importance of online safety. The learning challenge can always be revisited next lesson as the class rediscover the previous lesson’s objective and then assess their understanding.


Both KS1 and KS2 have recognised how children adopt their Learning for Life lessons through how they behave and award them with a ‘S=P+A+C+E for Me’ certificate. ‘S=P+A+C+E for me’ allows the children to identify areas in their own personal wellbeing in order to progress in their learning and social skills. Teachers and staff should be encouraged to highlight a child’s Learning for Life work, there is more opportunities for work to be praised by awarding the writing certificate if deemed appropriate. A Learning for Life board of recognition would be a good way forward for children to share their work from around the school.


In all lessons, the S=P+A+C+E for learning vocabulary should be encouraged: evaluating, communicating, questioning, working as a team, being resilient and showing empathy. This use of vocabulary used throughout the school in Learning for Life lessons will help to embed key skills for life and ensure all our children at St Thomas thrive in the modern world.