Published on: March 24, 2023
Compass’s Connect for Health school nurses in Warwickshire have provided workshops to over 300 young people about what to expect during puberty.
The day-long programme was led by Catherine Winton, whom Compass appointed as the new Relationships and Sexual Health (RSHE) Lead in response to Ofsted’s renewed emphasis on relationships and sexual education in schools.
Nurses worked with St Benedict’s Catholic High School in Stratford, to support pupils aged 11-14 with the ‘impact of puberty and how to deal with the challenges it can bring’.
Catherine said: “Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) is now a critical part of the curriculum.”
She said: “Coping with change during puberty can be a challenging subject for schools to cover. We want schools to feel supported by their school nursing service, through offering sessions such as this presentation, alongside the school’s mandatory puberty Science lessons.”
A skill mix of staff from C4H, including Catherine, delivered the presentation to four groups across years seven, eight and nine, during the school’s PSHE-focused development day.
Other members of staff presenting included Healthy Lifestyle Coordinator Jake Pantony, School Staff Nurses Suzanne Wurr and Summer Vallender and Family Brief Intervention Worker, Sarah Hollely.
The presentation covered relationships and sexual education topics such as physical changes, healthy relationships, and emotional wellbeing, with group activities and audience participation.
Catherine said: “We asked the children to write physical and emotional changes that occur during puberty, on an outline of a body. We also encouraged the year groups to contribute to answering questions and discussing thoughts amongst their peers.”
Emotional development was a focus of the presentation, and young people were given the knowledge and skills to stay happy and safe in modern society.
St Benedict’s Assistant Headteacher for Personal Development, William Gee, said: “I felt the sessions were engaging, pitched at an appropriate level, and that feedback from conversations with the students was extremely positive.”
He said he felt that the whole team tackled what can be an awkward and embarrassing topic to cover with students, in a way which engaged them and encouraged open discussion.
At the end of the sessions, pupils were asked to complete an anonymous feedback form. On average, pupils rated the sessions four out of five stars and 63% of students said that the information presented was “very interesting”.
Catherine Winton was appointed as the new Relationships and Sexual Health (RSHE) Lead, as the service aims to increase the offering of RSHE support available to schools in Warwickshire.
Service Manager, Karen Cornick said: “Catherine’s role will play a key part in helping us understand what RSHE support is required by schools. We will then work to determine how we can guide schools to meet the new Ofsted expectations around PSHE curriculums.”
The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) inspections have recently been placing more emphasis on PSHE education with a particular focus on Relationships, Sex and Health Education.