Using Life Lessons to deliver PSHE. Sheffield Park Academy explain how they use Life Lessons to deliver RSE that meets community needs and parents expectations.


Sheffield Park Academy supports a highly diverse community, including a high proportion of families that have a religious faith. It was essential that we consulted with parents on the Personal Development curriculum in order to provide transparency. This allows us to observe best practice and achieve effective learner objectives through alignment and co-operation with parents.

What we did

At the beginning of the academic year we wrote to all parents inviting them to share their views on how Personal Development is taught to their child.

We positioned this as follows: “Potentially topics such as healthy relationships, sexual health and consent are taught well at home, but that isn’t always the case. We want to hear from you to shape our approach on how it is taught to your child in school”

Ongoing we communicate what we intend to teach in Personal Development to parents at the start of each term. Additionally we email or text parents to let them know when we plan to cover ‘heavier’ topics. This means we are pre-empting the conversation at home that could come about following the lesson.

What we learned

The majority of families recognise the importance of teaching about healthy relationships and sex to their children. This resulted in families valuing this education taking place at school.

The main feedback centered on age appropriateness. We rarely heard ‘do not teach my child this topic.’ Rather there was a strong preference that a topic be taught to older children. For example, a certain topic taught in year 9, rather than in year 7.


How we use Life Lessons to Deliver PSHE

Sheffield Park Academy is a Life Lessons partner school, we use their well planned curriculum and lesson materials for teaching Relationships Sex and Health Education (RSHE) across year groups 7-13.

Life Lessons teaching materials are editable so we are able to tailor slides, videos and activities based upon our particular needs. Using what we learned from the parent consultation process, pupil surveys we conducted and some common sense judgment based upon awareness of the communities we serve and the maturity of pupils at Sheffield Park we tweaked slides in the Life Lessons lesson pack for our needs.

With Life Lessons, the school, through consultation with parents, is in control. Information provided is very clear, the lesson format works very well and we can use our discretion based upon our relationship with our students and the community to adjust lessons if we feel that something could be “a bit too much for our kids”.

Sheffield Park Academy is a high performing 11–18 secondary school in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, with almost 1,200 pupils, including 150 in a dedicated Sixth Form. The academy is part of United Learning MAT. Personal development is taught for 50 minutes each week.

Read another case study here: Hemel Hempstead School’s Experience of Ofsted Reviewing their PSHE Provision