Subject Leader: Miss A Ledwidge
The LIFE department continues to be judged as outstanding based on the department review of 2016-17. The LIFE course is held in high regard by staff and students; it is a model for excellent PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) provision and continues to grow and respond to the changing global political climate, ensuring our students are well prepared as rounded and informed individuals.
The LIFE curriculum is varied and stimulating across KS3 and KS4 in order to engage with students and develop their understanding of the world around them and how they can contribute actively and healthily within it. This was recognised in the most recent OFSTED report which stated:
“the personal, social and health education programme tackles topical, controversial and challenging issues head on.”They 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.”
The statutory elements of SRE (Sex and Relationships Education) are met.
The department benefits from strong leadership.
LIFE makes an outstanding contribution to SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development). References to these elements are made in each unit of the scheme.
Students are encouraged to think about the topics studied, and skilful questioning from teachers encourages students to reflect and empathise. Students work well independently, in pairs or in groups.
Teacher responsiveness and flexibility contributes to outstanding LIFE lessons; this allows students' input from their questions and curiosity to shape the lesson.
Lessons are characterised by strong structure and purpose, clear expectations, and enthusiastic teaching. There are a variety of activities and high levels of student engagement in both written and verbal tasks.
LIFE also contributes to a range of personal and thinking skills.
The schemes of work are updated to keep them fresh and current including the introduction of new schemes of work on topics such as emotional resilience, tackling extremism, radicalisation and fake news. Students also benefit from outside speakers who have run sessions on issues such as safety, bullying and drug awareness.
Particular topics are reviewed each year eg Anti-Bullying week and Safer Internet Day are carefully planned, with specific lessons for every year group.
Teachers encourage all students to take part in discussions and oracy activities.
Students receive regular praise, phoenix stickers and commendations in KS4.
Students' Views and Attitudes
Students' responses show an appreciation of the variety of topics addressed in LIFE, and the opportunity to discuss things that they wouldn't have a chance to elsewhere, as well as an understanding of how LIFE lessons help to prepare them for life outside of school.
Students enjoy the discussion work in LIFE lessons and many recognise the importance of developing their communication skills in LIFE lessons. eg one student explained that they “have learnt to make eye contact in presentations and project my voice after my feedback from my LIFE assessment.”
Students have a strong understanding on a wide range of topics to help them be emotionally resilient individuals who contribute positively to society, including how to cope with stress, the future world of work and why politics is important.
KS3 students identified the benefits of learning communication and oracy skills in LIFE and can explain how they have or could improve.
Following analysis of the student voice questionnaires, many students named LIFE as one of their best subjects - which is fantastic!
The priority is to remain up to date with current government legislation, reviewing LIFE schemes of work, and to continue to develop the number of visiting external speakers and presentations.