Assessing and collecting evidence for the RSE and PSHE primary curriculum 2021/22
Many schools have begun to teach the statutory content for relationships (and sex) and health education (RSHE) and are now beginning to think about assessing and collecting evidence for the RSHE Primary Curriculum 2021/22. The statutory guidance produced by the Department for Education is clear that the focus for assessment in RSHE should be in supporting children’s learning and making sure you meet their needs. There are no plans for formal testing or levels in this subject. The guidance states:
Schools should have the same high expectations of the quality of pupils’ work in these subjects as for other curriculum areas. A strong curriculum will build on the knowledge pupils have previously acquired, including in other subjects, with regular feedback provided on pupil progress.
Lessons should be planned to ensure that pupils of differing abilities, including the most able, are suitably challenged. Teaching should be assessed and assessments used to identify where pupils need extra support or intervention.
Whilst there is no formal examined assessment for these subjects, there are some areas to consider in strengthening quality of provision, and which demonstrate how teachers can assess outcomes. For example, tests, written assignments or self evaluations, to capture progress.
In this blog post, we will look at a range of approaches you might wish to use. (See the terminology guide at the end of this blog post to see the acronyms here explained).
Before you begin there are 3 key questions to consider:-
- How will assessment and evidence collection support children’s learning?
- How will assessment and evidence collection support planning and teaching?
- How will assessment and evidence collection demonstrate impact for internal review e.g. governors and external review e.g. Ofsted?
What are the benefits of assessment in RSE and PSHE?
- Gives children the opportunity to reflect on their learning and think about how that impacts their lives.
- Motivates children as they can see the progress they are making and that their learning is valuable.
- Gives teachers confidence that learning has taken place and that the next steps are appropriate.
- Supports schools to share outcomes and impact within the school and with external visitors especially for areas such as SMSC and British values.
Why is assessment a challenge in RSE and PSHE?
- It isn’t something many teachers are familiar with.
- The nature of the subject includes lots of discussion and less recorded and written work.
- Time constraints.
- Concerns about assessing the individual rather than the subject.
A starting point for RSE and PSHE assessment
A good starting point is to consider how you assess and collect evidence in other foundation subjects, these procedures can be adapted for RSE and PSHE. As you do this, remember that good lessons should include a range of opportunities for children to discuss their ideas and therefore, there may not be as much written evidence as there might be for other subjects. This does not mean there will be no written work, and using a published scheme, such as the Kapow Primary RSE and PSHE scheme of work, can really help as it includes a good range of activities. Many of these can be used as evidence, such as top tips lists, quizzes and scenario responses.
How do you support planning, teaching and learning in RSE and PSHE?
To support planning, teaching and learning, it is good practice to carry out a baseline assessment at the beginning of each topic. There are many ways to do this but one of the most straightforward is a mind-mapping activity. For example, you can use the topic title Stereotyping: Gender and ask children to mind map what they already know. Children can do this individually, in pairs or as a class. You can then see what they know, what misconceptions they have and any gaps in their understanding. The other big advantage of this is that the mind map can be revisited at the end of the unit and additional information added, perhaps using a different colour, providing useful evidence of progress.
Another established tool for baseline assessment in RSHE (and PSHE education) is ‘Draw and Write’. This was originally designed by Noreen Wetton as part of drug education but has been developed and can be used for a number of topics. The basic principle involves outlining a scenario to the children and them responding with their ideas in pictures and words. Again, this allows you to see what they already know and any misconceptions. Like the mind map, this can be revisited at the end of a unit to see progress.
To support planning, it is important to assess in each lesson and in particular to identify any children who really have not understood the content. In each Kapow Primary RSE and PSHE lesson, guidance is given on what you can expect for children with secure understanding and those working at greater depth. Your lesson plan can be used to note children who do not have a secure understanding as well as any who have exceeded expectations. Working this way will enable you to adjust the planning for the next lesson to support those children who need some extra input, and those who need extending further.
How to use self and peer assessment in RSE and PSHE
Self and peer assessment are also useful tools in RSE and PSHE and activities to support this are included within the Kapow Primary RSE and PSHE scheme. When undertaking this type of activity, it is important to be clear on what is being assessed particularly when using peer assessment. Children need clear guidance on what they are looking at. For example, when peer-assessing a leaflet produced by another child, they may look at how clearly information is shared or the number of key facts included.
Paper-based activities are included throughout the Kapow Primary RSE and PSHE scheme, which can be used as evidence of children’s learning. These can be collated in a range of ways – you might have a class folder or big book where key pieces are stored. This approach offers the opportunity to add photos and a brief record of discussions as well. Alternatively, you may wish children to have an individual folder or book. They might use this throughout the school or a key stage, which allows you and them to review their progress over time. You may wish to have a different system for different age groups, so a class approach might be used in Key Stage 1 and individual books in Key Stage 2.
You might also like to consider these ideas used by schools to evidence learning in RSE and PSHE:
- Hold a half-termly whole school assembly where children share what they have learnt. This works particularly well if everyone has been following the same broad theme.
- Share pieces of work, particularly leaflets and videos on the school website.
- Children could write top tips on a topic for the school newsletter.
- Have an RSHE display in every classroom.
- Have RSHE as the theme for corridor or hall displays so the whole school can see what others have been learning.
These approaches provide the opportunity for children to share learning with each other and can be used to share key messages with parents and carers. This can be a useful way to help them to support their children in healthier and safer behaviours.
What is Ofted looking for when it comes to RSE and PSHE?
Many schools will be considering what Ofsted might be looking for when inspections begin again. RSE and PSHE will mainly be considered as part of the Personal Development judgement. It does, however, play a part in all the inspection themes. It could also be used as a focus for a deep dive. As a subject leader, it is important that you have a clear understanding of your school’s approach and how you meet the needs of your community. Your long-term planning should show a logical progression in learning (you can use Kapow Primary’s RSE progression of skills document to help you). Your assessment procedures should demonstrate how you support children and move them on to the next step. If these are clearly set out, then children should be able to speak to inspectors with confidence about their learning.
Using the approaches above will ensure children can see the progress they are making in RSHE, help teachers to plan effectively and also provide the evidence you need for internal and external reviews.
RSE, RSHE and PSHE terminology guide
The Relationships Education, RSE, and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019 have made Relationships Education compulsory in all primary schools. Sex education is not compulsory in primary schools.
All primary school children will be required to learn about relationships and health which comprises of two distinct areas:
- Physical health and mental wellbeing
PSHE is defined by the DfE as “Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education is an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education. All schools should teach PSHE, drawing on good practice, and this expectation is outlined in the introduction to the proposed new national curriculum.
PSHE is a non-statutory subject. To allow teachers the flexibility to deliver high-quality PSHE we consider it unnecessary to provide new standardised frameworks or programmes of study. PSHE can encompass many areas of study. Teachers are best placed to understand the needs of their pupils and do not need additional central prescription.”