Facts4Life in Action
Facts4Life in the Primary Curriculum
Facts4Life resources are designed to be flexible to allow schools to develop their own whole school approach. Here are some examples of how schools have introduced them within their curriculum.
The Catholic School of Saint Gregory the Great
After reviewing our provision for PSHE we recognised that there was a gap in teaching to develop and support children’s understanding of both physical and mental health and wellbeing and the responsibility we all have for maintaining this. We were very impressed with the Facts4Life scheme of work and decided that this would fill the gap in our PSHE provision.
As a Catholic school, we cover the PinK curriculum objectives in a variety of ways such as through our RE teaching, assemblies, masses and collective worship and the use of SMSC objectives in all lessons. This ensures that PSHE is threaded through our curriculum and therefore, with this in mind, we decided to thread the Facts4Life scheme through the year in a similar way as we were concerned that a stand-alone ‘PSHE Week’ might result in a loss of understanding or emphasis.
At the beginning of every new term, each year group teaches one to two PSHE lessons using the Facts4Life scheme of work. This allows us to start each term in the right way; thinking about our own wellbeing and the responsibility we have for maintaining this. Both staff and children are enjoying the scheme; the resources are well prepared and the support materials mean that, as teachers, we are ready and able to discuss any issues or illnesses raised by the children! The range of activities allows children to develop understanding and reflect on the topics covered in new and interesting ways and evidence of our learning is collated in a class PSHE learning journey file.
The emphasis on mental wellbeing has also contributed to a huge shift in awareness and understanding amongst our children who now recognise that, just as we may suffer from physical ill-health, so might we suffer from mental ill-health. Pupil conferencing has shown that children are enjoying their PSHE lessons and are developing a good understanding of the importance of health and wellbeing.
Subsequently, as part of our work towards the GHLL Mental Health Champions Award, we decided to take the opportunity to link the 30 day Facts4Life challenge to Mental Health. We launched the challenge in January and had a whole school focus. Each class, led by the children, put together a bank of ideas for ways in which they could promote and support positive mental wellbeing. Ideas included dance, meditation, exercise, sharing worries, peer massage and listening to music amongst others! Each day the children selected one activity from the jar to complete as a class. Both children and staff loved the experience and many classes have continued this practice beyond the 30 days! It was also an effective way for us to expose the children to the different ways in which we can support our own mental wellbeing and recognise that different strategies work for different people.
Year 6 Teacher and Senior Leadership Team
The Federation of Newent Schools
The Facts4Life materials have been used in a range of settings at Picklenash School – with the whole class, small group work and on a 1 to 1 basis with selected students. The programme has provided good opportunity to explore with students a range of important issues:
- Experience of illness and attendance at school
- Resilience and strategies for keeping healthy, including a sleep diary and a record of water intake
- Differences between us and the range of physical skills within the group – affirming each individual
- Supporting mental wellbeing with breathing activities, stilling and massage
We have had significant success in supporting a junior age student, who was experiencing difficulties in school with low attendance, reluctance to engage and high levels of anxiety. As a result of a targeted approach and individual support using Facts4Life activities, the student is now flourishing, demonstrating real improvements in health, mental positivity and resilience. Her enjoyment of school is now very evident and she is able to relate well to teaching staff and her peers.
The Rissington School
Currently at our school, we are in the process of rethinking our PSHCE curriculum and are incorporating the Facts4Life Programme into our programme of study. We particularly like that the Facts4Life approach focuses on the normality of health and illness, and teaches children strategies to manage their own health effectively, through the three key messages of ‘Riding the ups and downs’, ‘Keeping balanced’ and ‘Smoothing the path’.
As a whole staff we have participated in both the Core and Mental Health training, and are beginning to use the resources available with our classes, based on the children’s needs and misconceptions. As we write our PSHCE curriculum, we will be using the Facts4Life resources to both enhance the resources we already have, and also to help build in cross curricular links to other subjects, particularly science.
We plan to fully introduce the children to the Three Key Messages in the New Year, through the whole school assembly resources available. Staff will then continue to use these three key messages in their own classrooms, both when delivering PSHCE explicitly and outside of these lessons.
As a school we have highlighted that the children we teach need much more support with their mental and emotional wellbeing, and we will be using the F4L ethos and mental health resources to teach and encourage our children to understand and manage their own wellbeing. The F4L training on mental health made it exceptionally clear to us how we can address the children’s needs and concerns in a safe manner that encourages them to take responsibility for their own wellbeing, and realise that ‘normal’ isn’t always being happy and without worries.
Year 5/6 Teacher
Facts4Life in the Secondary Curriculum
The Facts4Life resources can be used flexibly across Key Stage 3. Some schools have planned to use activities in Key Stage 4 too. To give a flavour of how they can be tailored to your school, below are details of how three Gloucestershire comprehensive schools have introduced the ideas of Facts4Life to their curriculum this year.
Introduced in Year 7 within Skills Based Curriculum programme (a timetabled subject devoted to the development of effective learning skills) under topic of Building Resilience
Units 1-9 delivered across 3 week period
Taught by a team of 5 teachers – PSHE lead received Facts4Life training in March 2017 and cascaded to rest of team
Module 6 – had particular impact
Module 8 (research into a health condition) – works well when students are given free choice into a condition that is of personal interest to them
Module 9 (health promotion activity) – structured around 5 things that help, 3 barriers and the creation of a slogan
Facts4Life 30 Day Activity Challenge set as homework to Year 7 in Term 2 – launched as whole school initiative in Term 4 to all students in years 7-13, including staff
Used successfully as evidence of an intervention for the GHLL Mental Health Champion application
Next steps: F4L mental health activities to be delivered within vertical tutor groups in years 7 – 11. The core programme will be delivered to year 7 across 7 lessons.
Newent Community School
Introduced in year 7
Input to parents on Facts4Life through a new parents’ evening in September – contribution from the Facts4Life team
Facts4Life used as focus within whole school initiative to improve student attendance
Modules 1-4 and part of Module 5 delivered in Terms 1 & 2
Taught by a team of 5 teachers who all received Facts4life training in July 2017
Facts4life Wellbeing Challenge has been introduced
Referenced in application for GHLL Mental Health Champion
Next steps: Modules 7, 8 & 9 will be taught to year 8.
Barnwood Park Arts College
Introduced across Key Stage 3
Year 7 – Modules 1-3 in Term 3
Year 8 – Modules 4-6 in Term 2
Year 9 – Modules 7-9 in Term 1
Taught by PSHE lead (trained in March 17) across all three years, plus additional teacher in year 8
Facts4Life 30 Day Activity Challenge set as holiday homework to Year 7 over Easter and into Term 5
Next steps: Facts4Life 30 Day Activity Challenge will be set as homework to Year 8 over Whitsun Half Term and into Term 6.