PSHE partnership develops University of Cambridge teachers of tomorrow

An innovative partnership between Trumpington Park Primary School and Cambridgeshire PSHE Service, part of Cambridgeshire County Council, is helping to prepare the next generation of primary school teachers for the classroom.

Around 75 trainee teachers from the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge benefit each year from the subject-specific training as part of their Primary PGCE programme. The training aims to provide an overview of PSHE in primary schools and statutory Relationships and Health Education, and introduce practical approaches to teaching and learning in PSHE which can be used across the curriculum.

It seeks to develop confidence in responding to children’s questions relating to Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and in using scientific vocabulary, awareness of Cambridgeshire materials for delivering PSHE/RSE, and to learn about good practice in a school which prioritises wellbeing and teaches high-quality PSHE.

As part of this training, which spans three identical sessions for 25 trainees, they experience ‘on the job’ learning at Trumpington Park Primary School, led by Headteacher and PSHE specialist Mel Shute, in PSHE development days.

Steph Hoskin, Lead Adviser at Cambridgeshire PSHE Service, said: “We have worked in partnership with Cambridgeshire schools for 25 years, and our Primary Personal Development Programme is in use by over 600 schools nationwide and a few internationally too.

“Our relationship with Mel and Trumpington Park Primary School goes back many years. They are fully committed to PSHE and wellbeing is at the heart of their school. Children are front and centre of everything they do, and they are the perfect inspiration for developing teachers.

“It has been exciting for us to work with them on delivering this training to Faculty of Education trainees. Through this relationship we are now also supporting all 14 primary schools in Meridian Trust, including via comprehensive CPD.”

In a survey following the most recent training, 100% of trainees ‘Agreed/Strongly Agreed’ that their day at Trumpington Park Primary School “extended my knowledge and understanding of curriculum and pedagogy in PSHE”. Individuals described the sessions as “highly informative” and “insightful”, highlighted the “engaging” and “incredibly valuable” speakers, and reported “feeling much more confident to teach the subject”.

John-Mark Winstanley, Early Years and Primary PGCE Deputy Course Manager at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, commented:

“The Faculty of Education is proud of our strong relationship with Trumpington Park Primary School and the Cambridgeshire County Council PSHE Service. Each year, we feel fortunate to be able to send our cohorts of new primary teachers to the school to develop their understanding of what best practice in PSHE looks like.

“What stands out about Trumpington Park Primary School is the fact that its focus on children’s health and wellbeing sits at the heart of all school activity; it is so inspiring to be able to show the trainees a school that ‘walks its talk’ so well.

“Working alongside the school, and drawing upon the expertise of the Cambridgeshire PSHE Service, means our trainees gain access to high levels of expertise in this subject. Many of our trainees identify the time they spend at the school as a highlight of the entire course. They are particularly struck by the school’s unceasing commitment to nurture the whole child and feel empowered to go on and achieve this for themselves in their future careers.”

Headteacher Mel Shute added:

“PSHE is absolutely central to Meridian Trust’s ethos, particularly in primary schools, and it is really important that we get it right for our children.

“Here at Trumpington Park Primary School, not only is PSHE is up front in all our values, we have a solid curriculum base through the Cambridgeshire PSHE Service scheme of work. It is essential that we have resources that represent different groups of people in our community. The Primary Personal Development Programme gives us both school-level and more holistic context, which goes beyond curriculum into other areas that are at heart of our community and society, including mental health and wellbeing.

“We have been involved in developing young teachers for many years, and it has been wonderful to build this relationship with the Faculty of Education and give their trainees PSHE training opportunities based on real context.”

The Cambridgeshire Primary Personal Development Programme, which is quality assured by the PSHE Association, is a complete solution to planning, teaching and leading PSHE across the primary age range.

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