How to Teach RSE & PSHE to Mixed-age Classes

The introduction of statutory Relationships (and Sex) and Health Education (RSHE) in 2020 has been a bit of a challenge for many primary schools and teachers. Many teachers are worried about having enough curriculum time to teach the required lessons, as well as being able to plan and resource them effectively. 

Another concern teachers may have is the nature of RSHE & PSHE topics and how to pitch lessons appropriately for the age and maturity of the children. The sensitive nature of some of the content also causes concern for many teachers, which is another good reason for having a planned RSE & PSHE programme that will support staff. However, it is highly recommended that staff do carefully consider the needs of their class and adapt accordingly, as recommended by Ofsted.

Other concerns include what is and isn’t statutory in RSE as well as how to assess RSE & PSHE. The Kapow Primary RSE & PSHE scheme of work has been developed by subject specialists to enable non-specialist teachers to deliver high-quality RSHE & PSHE lessons with in-built CPD, assessment, planning and resources to assist the delivery of the subject across the school and address all of the issues above.

Issues and concerns around RSE & PSHE can be enough of a challenge in a single-age class, but when you are teaching mixed-age groups, it can be even more difficult.  In light of this, Kapow Primary has reviewed and revised their existing scheme of work to make it suitable for teaching in mixed-age classes. You can explore the RSE & PSHE mixed-age lessons here:

All the lessons from the original programme have been arranged into a two-year rolling programme (Cycle A and Cycle B), and although some of the lessons appear in both Cycle A and Cycle B, they have been designed so that pupils will still have a different learning experience each year, depending on their year group. 

The mixed-age planning for Years 1/2, Years 3/ 4 and Years 5/6 are divided into five topics areas:

  • Family and Relationships
  • Health and Wellbeing 
  • Safety and the Changing Body
  • Citizenship
  • Economic Wellbeing

All the lessons include differentiated content to ensure the learning needs of all pupils are met across both year groups. The content follows the same format as previous lessons, with a lesson introduction, main activity, plenary, support for differentiation, assessment and key vocabulary. 

By following the two-year cycle, teachers can be confident that they are covering all the statutory content in a progressive programme, although there is also coverage of non-statutory aspects of PSHE education and Citizenship to give children the broad and balanced curriculum they need.

The nature of RSE & PSHE is that some topics are suitable for specific age groups, for example learning around puberty. The lessons therefore, include a few lessons that are designed to be taught to a single year group. It is recognised that this can be a challenge for schools in terms of staffing and these lessons have been kept to a minimum for that reason. Where this has been done, an alternative lesson for the other year group is also provided. Obviously, you may decide as a school that there are other lessons you wish to teach to single year groups.

Access your free RSE & PSHE long term plan: mixed-age

The lesson plans have been carefully planned to make it clear where the teacher’s focus needs to be. Whenever possible, the introduction and plenary will involve all the children. These will generally reflect the main activities for both groups but will occasionally focus more on one year group than the other. The main section of the lesson plan includes activities one year group can be doing while the teacher works with the other group. The lesson plan also sets out clearly which activities are for which age group.


mixed age teaching RSE

Teachers can also receive additional support including a mixed-age long-term plan, assessment resources (though assessment resources for mixed-age classes will be added in the Spring term),  animated pupil videos, RSE & PSHE webinars, as well as 3 I’s statement guidance, and much more! You will also have access to the single-year group RSE & PSHE scheme of work, so if your school has a mix of class structures you can access the most appropriate planning for individual classes.

Sarah photo
Written by:
Sarah Huggins

Sarah has over 20 years’ experience in education. Starting as a Primary teacher, Sarah then moved into an advisory role that covered both PSHE education and Citizenship. She delivers courses for teachers, as well as sessions for children and young people and creates educational materials. 

Sarah runs her own independent education consultancy company Personal Development Matters, which supports schools to deliver high-quality PSHE education as well as other areas of personal development.