LIFE (PSHCE and Citizenship)

Our most recent OFSTED report recognised that:

“the personal, social and health education programme tackles topical, controversial and challenging issues head on.”

The report also stated that:

“the LIFE course is particularly outstanding and contributes significantly to students' preparation for life in modern Britain. It epitomises the school's anti-discrimination stance, its equality of opportunity for all and its inclusive community.”

At Cheam High School 

We aim to provide our young people with an education which will allow them to achieve to the very best of their ability and go on to success in further education and careers. 

We also want our students to be safe and happy, be well-equipped for adulthood and be positive contributors to our society.     

LIFE: PSHCE and Citizenship

At KS3 and KS4, our LIFE (Learning is for Ever) department is dedicated to ensuring our students experience a specifically developed PSHE and Citizenship curriculum which supports the above aim.   

PSHE stands for Personal, Social, Health Education. It consists of a number of interrelated themes of which the principal threads are:

·         Health Education, including statutory Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) and Drug Education

·         Careers Education and Guidance including Work Related Learning

·         Personal and social skills development

·         Enterprise and economic understanding

·         Citizenship eg British Values and democracy, confronting extremist views.

PSHCE and Citizenship, like many subjects, requires an emphasis on active learning, an enquiry approach, and a discussion of issues, problems and events which are set in a topical context.

Students are provided with opportunities to discuss critical issues, to work together, to make decisions, to take responsibility for their own actions and participate in school and community events. 

Curriculum developments and content:

The Subject Leaders have continued to review the topics covered in each year group. 

A ‘Growing Up’ unit was run in year 7 rather than year 8, replacing a unit on Environmental Issues which is covered in science. This was well received by students and staff agreed that this was appropriately placed for students toward the end of their first year in secondary school.

Lessons from last year on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and “Consent” have been amended based on feedback from staff and were well received by students in year 10. This year lessons on the dangers of pornography, anxiety and stress management in year 9 have been successful. Sexual orientation has been included this academic year in year 9 following feedback from students.

SWITCH, an outside agency who deliver sessions on the dangers of drugs and alcohol, presented to all of year 9 which received positive feedback. Next year, work will include updating references in units to reflect events around the world and any relevant legislation as well as adding to the mental health and online safety and online bullying units.  We have continued to use assemblies and developed registration resources to ensure key LIFE and SRE issues are reinforced.

We continue to stay on top of recent events to feed into and develop our scheme of work on Tackling Extremism and Radicalisation.  Tutor time has been utilised more to present key messages in response to significant incidents and events nationally and internationally. Following the US presidential election, registration sessions were delivered to address some of the message and fake news which was at odds with our British Values and was designed to help our students read and watch news thoughtfully and engage with messages with an awareness of fake news, misleading presentation and bias. Following attacks in Manchester and London tutor time sessions were run to inform, educate and reassure students about what happened and give them an opportunity to discuss the events and ask questions. 

Communication skills continue to be delivered through KS3 LIFE lessons, a timetable of the specific skills taught and topic sheets is produced per half term.  All LIFE teachers assess and record these on a half-termly basis.

The annual review of the LIFE department can be found here.

Sex and Relationship Education (SRE):

In March 2017, it was announced that SRE (Sex and Relationship Education) would be made statutory in maintained schools from 2019 and that the guidance published in 2000 would be updated. The intention was also articulated to develop the compulsory PSHE.  The school is in a strong position to deliver the new statutory SRE.

Information on Sex and Relationship Education can be found here.

PSCHE and Citizenship Policy

This policy gives more information about what is taught when, and can be found here.  It should be noted that there are a number of different activities across the school which support the delivery of PSCHE and Citizenship in addition to LIFE lessons and activities.  These include:

  • Outside speakers eg assemblies or special events.
  • Other subjects delivering aspects of the curriculum eg Sex Education in Science.
  • Extra-curricular activities and events eg school council representation, business studies enterprise events
  • Careers interviews, work experience and visits to university and/or work.
  • Weekly ‘Thoughtful Thursday’ (KS3) and Debate Time (KS4) in registration sessions.


At Post 16, there is a tutor programme that includes issues such as SRE, drugs and alcohol, democracy and British Values, alongside driving skills and advice on progression through education and employment.


LIFE is a major contributor to SMSC Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education) within Cheam High School.  More information can be found on the SMSC webpage here.