About Uppingham Community College 

Uppingham Community College is home to pupils aged from year 7 to year 11. They are based in a very rural area and their intake is from nearby primary schools and a variety of different villages in the surrounding area. The college is rather isolated as it is located in the countryside. 

Challenges Faced by Uppingham Community College 

Uppingham Community College has a high number of SEND students and is an inclusive school. There is also a high number of service premium students due to the college being located near lots of force bases. This proximity to the force bases also means they experience a lot of students who transfer in and out regularly, so there is a high change over of students.

Problems Delivering the RSHE Curriculum 

  • Resources that were not relevant to the students
  • Staff spending hours of valuable time researching appropriate resources
  • Resources were not suitable for a spiral curriculum 
  • Missing content needed in order to meet statutory requirements and connect to young people

Prior to using Life Lessons Uppingham Community College were using a lot of resources that were outdated and were not relevant to their students’ lives. It took staff a long time to source resources for the different year groups and due to the outdated content, students weren’t particularly engaged in the lessons. . There was also the importance of ensuring resources met statutory guidance requirements and connected to the lives of young people. 

Timetable Focus on RSHE/PSHE

Once they implemented Life Lessons into the school, Paul felt supported to implement a spiral curriculum for RSHE and PSHE. Paul is working towards a whole-school focus by making cross-curricular links and focusing on RSHE topics in the wider school environment for example, Every Wednesday morning students have a 25 minute personal development lesson as well as form time RSHE focuses. 

Staff Confidence and the Spiral Curriculum 

One issue before implementing Life Lessons, was ensuring teachers felt confident with leading RSHE lessons. After partnering with Life Lessons and choosing the spiral curriculum approach, Paul spoke to his staff about who was comfortable to cover which topic, what areas they felt strongest on and from those conversations built up different teams in different areas.

These conversations inspired him to work towards building a team of specialists in which he has divided people into teams to tackle certain topics. Since he now has a big team of staff feeling confident to deliver these lessons, staff buy-in has increased and this has cemented the importance of RSHE throughout the school. Similarly, students are hearing the same messages from a variety of teachers and in a variety of subjects (including PD, careers and Lifestyle Education) which supports their learning and also the creation of a healthy school culture. 

Improving Planning

Previously when planning RSHE lessons Paul and his staff struggled with finding quality content. Part of growing a team of expertise involved each team member pinpointing their strengths and interests . With Life Lessons Resources Paul felt confident  that his staff would have access to quality resources that he knew were age appropriate The weekly ‘In the News’ lessons were extremely valuable to Paul and his team to engage students and provide a safe space for students to discuss topical issues. Previously, Paul would spend hours researching news stories and creating lesson materials to address these topics; now, Paul feels confident that he will receive well-planned lessons each week to address the latest news in an engaging way.

The fact that Life Lessons resources are discussion based also appealed to Paul. The discussion element and the ability for students to reflect is valuable  for building their critical thinking and oracy skills and to give them confidence in making informed decisions. 

Managing Difficult Conversations 

A challenge that Paul and his team deal with regularly is having difficult conversations with students. For example, during Pride Month students ask “Why don’t we have a straight month?” Similarly during Black History Month students question “Why is there no white history month?”.

Life Lessons resources and video library of young people discussing different issues has been a great support for teachers who now feel more prepared to answer these difficult questions. . The diversity of the young people in the Life Lessons videos, including individuals from a variety of faiths, ethnicities and sexualities,  help to surface the importance of hearing the stories of those from minority groups  and to understand that these events play an important part in society to continue the fight against prejudice and discrimination.  Hearing about experiences from people their own age is also extremely impactful for student engagement in the classroom;  it’s easier for young people to relate to those closer to their age and helps them to reflect on and challenge their own views and beliefs. 

Another challenge  of managing difficult conversations is supporting students to voice their opinions in a respectful way by listening to each other and disagreeing respectfully.  Paul is part of the LGBTQ+ community and rather than shutting down homophobic statements and jokes he uses Life Lessons resources to help his students become more accepting and understand how their own actions can affect others. In regards to LGBTQ+ bullying Paul notes that students often tell jokes often wtihout realising the meaning behind what they are saying and without  realising how hurtful the comments can be. Fostering a culture of respect in the school community by challenging harmful comments and behaviour gives the space for students to consider their own opinions and understand why other people in the school may find their behaviour offensive.

Read about other schools whose RSHE curriculum has improved once they implemented Life Lessons: Consilium Academies, Orchard Schools and Canbury School are just some of the schools we have helped.

Ready to enhance your RSHE curriculum and lesson delivery? Then become a Life Lessons School today!