Our curriculum aim in PSHCE is to prepare young people from year 7 all the way to year 13 for life after school, each year has a carefully planned range of topics with crucial topics such as RSE, Mental Health, Internet safety, Safeguarding issues, Citizenship and Careers embedded into each year group. Each year builds on the knowledge from the year prior ensuring that the key topics are repeated throughout the years. NFS PSHCE lessons also help develop an open culture in the school, teaching pupils that no subject is taboo to discuss. As a result of this pupils are more comfortable discussing issues such as mental health and relationship issues, pupils here also have a strong idea of what is right.

Certain topics have been brought in as a result of issues in the school, such as Misogyny which helps pupils’ interpret the world around them and recognise both misogynistic language and the need for more equality in our everyday language. Topics such as extremism and radicalisation are taught so pupils can understand the signs of someone who is being radicalised, this in turn makes them more aware as members of the community and prepares them for their role as responsible citizens after school. FGM is another topic which ensures that pupils also become eyes and ears for vulnerable pupils as well as topics such as Young Carers which hopefully ensures young carers are identified earlier in the school so that they can access the support that is needed.

The PSHCE topics are planned carefully to ensure that all our pupils are well rounded individuals who show tolerance, respect, empathy and understanding for different people and different situations. The aim of the lessons is to help pupils deal with these issues, seek support and develop coping mechanisms to function when they face these issues both during school but in later life. Pupils are also taught about their rights, the law in many aspects of life and their duty and responsibility as citizens of this country. Overall the PSHCE curriculum offers a wide range of topics that help create well rounded, respectful and responsible young people.

The topics covered by students during their weekly 50 minute dedicated PSHCE lesson include:

Year 7

Young Carer

  • Pupils learn about the role of a young carer and what it means to be a young carer. They are also taught about the support that is on offer for young carers.

British Citizenship

  • Pupils learn the purpose of roles and rules in the community and the rights that children are entitled to. They learn how our rights and responsibilities change over time. Pupils learn about the Equality act and the importance of not discriminating against others.

Internet Safety

  • Pupils learn what a digital footprint is and consider online reputation. Pupils learn vocabulary alongside being safe online. Pupils look at privacy settings and why they are important.

Radicalisation & Extremism

  • Pupils look at why someone might be vulnerable to radicalisation. They learn the warning signs and what to do if they suspect something. This teaches pupils to be aware of radicalisation and prevention that they can be part of.

Mental Health Awareness

  • Pupils learn about what mental health is and issues that may arise. Pupils learn a wider understanding of mental health issues but focus on depression and self esteem. Pupils are taught that it is important to talk about mental health and issues that they may have. Pupils also learn about mindfulness and learn some relaxation and coping techniques.

Puberty and Hygiene

  • Pupils continue on from their work in primary school and learn about the physical and emotional changes that take place during puberty. They look at managing those emotional changes and where to get support if they need it. Pupils discuss the importance of communication but also learn how the internet can be unreliable and are taught how to assess the reliability of websites when looking for answers. Pupils learn about menstruation and also look at period poverty. Pupils will also learn the basics about consent within this topic.

Smoking and its dangers

  • Pupils learn the reasons people might start smoking, they learn about the dangers and how cigarettes affect the body and health. They also learn about the dangers of secondhand smoke.

FGM ( Female Genital Mutilation)

  • Pupils learn about FGM, the dangers of the procedure and how to spot warning signs if someone is going to or has undergone FGM. Pupils learn who to talk to if they are worried or concerned. Please note- pupils do not see any graphic imagery in these lessons, they learn about it through reading a biography from a girl who had it done to her. The content has been deemed appropriate for this age.

Year 8

Drugs, Energy Drinks and Alcohol

  • Pupils learn about the physical effects and the emotional effects of alcohol. Pupils learn about energy drinks and caffeine and the hidden dangers behind over consumption.

Mental Health and well being

  • Pupils look at self harm and why people might self harm. Pupils recap of ways to deal with stress and mental health issues. Pupils learn relaxation techniques to help with stresses and anxieties.

Internet Safety

  • Pupils consider the effects of cyber bullying. Pupils also learn about the dangers of using online chat rooms and social media, there is a focus on the more sinister side of the internet and 'grooming'. Pupils also learn about the inappropriate use of 'sexting' and how it is against the law. Pupils learn to assess the reliability of the internet and learn definitions such as copyright, ownership and plagiarism.

Healthy relationships

  • Pupils look at what makes a healthy relationship, these lessons are focused around all relationships that pupils might have not just romantic relationships. Pupils look at the importance of communication and what makes an effective communicator. Pupils learn about consent, they learn that it is OK to say no and that legally no one should be having sex before the age of 16. Pupils discuss how to deal with their relationships online (friends and romantic). Pupils are given a brief introduction to contraception.

Gender Identity

  • Pupils learn about gender identity and learn about our binary gender system, they also look at other gender systems developed by other societies. Pupils focus on transgender and look at two different cases to help them understand the emotions behind someone making a transition. These lessons are about developing tolerance and understanding as well as teaching pupils about gender.

Year 9

Mental Health issues

  • Pupils recap on the mental health issues that they have already learned about, they discuss what they are and the triggers that might cause them. Pupils learn about hearing voices and the stigma attached to such mental health issues. Pupils touch on mindfulness and meditation.

British Citizenship and Values

  • Pupils revisit the equality act and why it is so important to society.

Healthy relationships

  • Pupils revisit consent and the law, pupils look at a range of different scenarios to ensure that they have fully understood the law in terms of consent. Pupils look at peer on peer abuse so that pupils understand their rights and where to find support.

Sexual health and contraception

  • Pupils learn about contraception and the dangers/consequences of not using it. Pupils learn about STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). Pupils also look at teenage pregnancy and the challenges of being a young parent. Pupils also touch briefly on miscarriage and the emotions that come with this.

First aid including CPR training

  • Pupils take part in a session delivered by the British Red Cross.


  • Pupils revisit grooming but also look at coercion, gaming and sexual harassment online. Pupils also learn about online gambling and to be aware of the 'hook'. Pupils also look at trolling and bullying online. Pupils will also look at support sites, helplines and about whistle blowing.

Domestic Violence

  • Pupils learn about healthy and unhealthy relationships. They focus on different types of abuse and how to recognise it (physical, emotional, financial etc). There is also a focus on the LGBTQ+ community and that domestic violence can exist within those relationships too. Pupils learn how to get support and help if they should ever need it.

FGM, Honour Based Violence (HBV) and Forced Marriage

  • Pupils recap briefly on FGM, what it is and the warning signs. Pupils learn about honour violence and forced marriages. They learn to understand the difference between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage. Pupils also learn that forced marriage can also happen to men especially those in the gay community.

Year 10

Drugs and Alcohol

  • Pupils recap on the dangers of alcohol and its effects on society. Pupils also learn that prescription drugs can be dangerous. Pupils learn about cannabis, its forms, side effects and dangers of overuse.

Healthy relationships

  • Pupils take part in an external workshop looking at the pornography industry and discuss the unrealistic expectations that it puts on relationships. Please note pupils do not see any explicit images or content during this workshop. Within the workshop pupils also learn about intimacy without sex. Pupils will then have the opportunity to discuss any questions from the workshop with their PSHE teacher and will look at ways in which men and women are sexualised in the media and whether the bodies we see in adverts and on TV are realistic representations of people.
  • Pupils recap on consent and the law and peer on peer abuse.
  • Pupils also learn about intimacy without sex, what it means, why it is important and how if pupils don't feel ready to engage in sexual activities there are other ways to feel close to your partner. Communication is also discussed and the important part it plays in a healthy relationship.


  • Pupils understanding the meaning of the term misogyny. They look at how prevalent it is in society, exploring specific examples. Pupils look at the use of language and the understanding of the word feminism. They look at how misogyny affects everyone and ways in which we can move forward as a society.

Mental Health

  • Pupils look at stress and anxiety, particularly in connection to their exams and GCSEs and how to manage and cope with it. Pupils also recap on self harm and learn about Dermatillomania.

Internet Safety

  • Pupils learn how their online activity might impact on their future aspirations and review online laws. Pupils review how the internet can affect expectations on relationships. Pupils learn about gaslighting and satire, looking at fake news and how to identify it.

Gang culture, youth crime and knife crime

  • Pupils learn about anti-social behaviour and the causes behind it. Pupils learn about gang culture and how it affects society and crime levels. There is a focus on learning about County Lines and how children are groomed for drug gangs. Pupils learn about the laws to protect young people and who to go to to get help. Pupils recap what they have learned about knife crime and create campaigns.

Year 11

Alcohol and Drugs- staying safe

  • Pupils learn about illegal highs and the dangers behind them. Pupils learn about staying safe at a party and what to do if a friend is in trouble. Pupils look at a case study where a death was caused a boy's drink being spiked and no one reacted when he became unconscious. Pupils learn what to do in a situation where a friend has drunk too much alcohol.

Mental Health

  • Pupils recap on anxiety and stress caused by exams and ways to deal with it. Pupils learn good study tips to keep them focused and keep stress levels down during study. Mindfulness strategies are revisited.
  • Internet Safety
  • Pupils revisit the laws on internet activity, they look at plagiarism and copyright and what these mean/consequences behind them.

Year 12

Living in the Wider World

  • Students cover issues including free speech and hate speech, globalisation and extremism. They also look at climate change and gender and language.


  • Students are taught about fake news, online safety and media stereotypes as well as a module on study skills.


  • Students use the Unifrog platform to start looking at Post 18 choices, MOOCs, Post 18 planning and degree apprenticeships. Personal statements are also introduced in this module.


  • In this module, students cover topics including alcohol, sexual health, exercise, food and sleep and healthy relationships.

Next Steps

  • In this module, we discuss UCAS, apprenticeships and work experience preparation. Students receive guidance on pathways and careers.
  • The Real World
  • Students look at rights and responsibilities along with what is meant by professionalism. They are also taught about prejudice and discrimination, bullying and harassment and health and safety. Work experience is also included in this module.

Year 13

Next Steps Post 18

  • Unifrog and university/apprenticeship application processes take place in this module, along with mock interviews and interview preparation. Students receive one to one support in the writing of letters of application and personal statements. External speakers from universities speak to the students about the application process.

Independent Me

  • In this module, we discuss life skills and personal finance. We also revisit study skills and look at ways in which we can deal with stress and anxiety.


Preparing students for the world of work is an important aspect of their experience at Nottingham Free School and all students participate in a careers programme (click here to download the whole school careers plan) which is based around the the ten employability goals:

  • Self-motivation – taking responsibility for developing work readiness
  • Self-assurance – having the tools and skills to present themselves to employers
  • Aspiration – having high personal goals
  • Informed – understanding the opportunities available and making realistic choices
  • Experience – having experience of work that is rewarding and fulfilling
  • Achieving – qualifications valued by employers
  • Accountability – understanding how to take responsibility
  • Resilience – understanding employers need for people who can listen and learn
  • Entrepreneurial – working creatively to achieve personal and business potential
  • Co-operation – developing effective communication and co working skills

Students keep a record of all their experiences related to these goals in a skills passport. All enrichment activities are related to the employability skills in order for students to choose activities which provide them with a well rounded profile of skills.

August 2022


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