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Heartwood CE VC Primary and Nursery School
Learn to Love – Love to Learn!

Life Skills Curriculum

These are the skills that we can take in life, wherever we go and whatever we do

Life Skills at Heartwood 

Legislation passed in the Children and Social Work Act 2017 introduces Relationships Education (RSE) as a statutory requirement in primary schools. This applies to all schools in England. 

New guidance and regulations are to be followed by all schools. At Heartwood, we have used the guidance and developed a curriculum that we call Life Skills. 


Primary schools are being encouraged by the Department for Educations to provide sex education as well as Relationships Education. Parents have the option to withdraw their children from the sex element of the curriculum, all other parts are compulsory. 


Mrs Emily McMillen is the school’s Life Skills Lead.

Our Life Skills curriculum is designed around the needs of pupils and the community. Regular consultations with the pupils and our families feeds into the curriculum intent. The needs may change over time, we prepare to give our children the knowledge, skills and values to be prepared for key milestones or times in their lives. 


Our school vision, values and rules 'ready, respectful and safe' are at the core of the curriculum.


At Heartwood, our Life skills curriculum is designed to give the children the knowledge, skills, language, tools and cultural currency to navigate successfully from childhood through to adult life. We will achieve this through a bespoke programme of lessons - designed to meet the needs of our pupils, both within school and the wider community. Our lessons will allow the children to express their honest thoughts and feelings in a safe, informed and mutually respectful environment.


Our Life skills curriculum aims to ensure that all our children flourish we want them to thrive not just survive. Our end goal is for pupils to know how to be safe and healthy, and how to manage their academic, personal and social lives in a positive way. The curriculum breaks this ambitious goal down into composites and components of learning. 

The concepts that run through the Life skills curriculum and connect learning for the pupils are:


  • Online safety 
  • Relationships
  • Health and well-being 
  • Living in the wider world


Ensuring all can access and flourish in Life Skills

Spirituality in Life Skills at Heartwood

How do we teach Life Skills at Heartwood?

The children and their needs are very much at the heart of the curriculum design.

Children have at least weekly discrete Life Skills sessions taught by their class teacher. These are taught using a variety of different methods including drama, story, videos, discussion time, circle time and books. Planning is informed by the PSHE association materials and resources. However life skills are taught directly and indirectly throughout the whole curriculum and the 'hidden curriculum', for example at break times, P.E, history, when walking around the school, learning to play alongside each other, learning to regulate....We weave it into our everyday teaching in response to things that are happening in school- eg. between friends, or even in the wider world. 


The school is a member of the PSHE association and quality and current resources will aid teaching. 


We have invested in resources from the Big Talk Education to support our Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children- ensuring we are being supportive and sensitive to their cultural beliefs and values. The resources have been created with the Gypsy Traveller Voice Project and with GRT families. We consult with our GRT families about the best approach for teaching their children the statutory and non-statutory curriculums


We also welcome visitors into school to enhance the learning of the subject. This include Fire Service, dentists, medical professionals and the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller team. 

Please see below for the overviews of the core curriculum that we offer. These overviews are just the basic curriculum we provide, this is enhanced by additional learning to meet the needs of our children, cohorts and ever-changing modern society.

Life skills is taught in units and not necessarily in half terms. This enables the learning to reflect assessment of whether children can move on or whether they need to re-cover. This also supports strong retrieval practice and time for application and embedding knowledge.

Contextual, current and cohort issues and events will inform the planning and implementation of the subject in addition to the set units of learning.


On the first week of every half term the children build upon their learning about how to stay safe online. This is an area we have identified to be a priority. We use the National online safety progression resources to ensure we are using the most up to date materials and children are building upon their prior learning


Children also participate in an at least half termly NSPCC PANTS session and will watch the childline video too.   


​​​​​​​Children all take part in the annual National Anti-bullying week. 

Life Skills overview for the EYFS



Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

Who is special to me?

How can I be a respectful friend?

Understanding feelings

How do I look after my body?

How can we look after each other and our world?

What is the same and different about us?




Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

My Feelings

Families and people who are for me


My body

Caring friendships


My relationships

Respectful relationships


My beliefs


Health and germ prevention

Online safety


My rights and responsibilities

Being safe


Asking form help


Pupils are assessed in a variety of ways to see what knowledge they have trained in the long term memory from the identified curriculum taught. Assessment is also informed by the way that children embed and display their understanding of concepts- for example respecting others. 


Key knowledge is identified for each year group and they are then condensed into end of key stage goals for children to meet to be confident and ready to access the next phase of learning. 




Parent and Carer Resources:

Withdrawing your child from lessons


As the subject is now statutory (compulsory) children will not be allowed to be withdrawn from any statutory lessons. If a child misses a key lesson or lessons due to illness or holiday, these lessons will be delivered at another appropriate time.


Children can be withdrawn from sex education (reproduction) after a discussion with the Headteacher. However, they cannot be withdrawn from lessons on reproduction from a scientific viewpoint, puberty or lessons to do with relationships.

Special Education Needs in RSHE


How do we ensure all children can access RSHE lessons?


Our RSHE planning is designed to ensure that all children are able to access lessons and are enthusiastic learners. Differentiation within lessons is a vital component to ensure that a balance of support and challenge are achieved for all abilities. Differentiation is adjusted as expectations of individual pupils rise through progress. Effective quality first teaching is the key to enabling all children to participate and develop personally, socially and emotionally. 


It is recognised that SEND pupils may require additional support with the RSHE curriculum and can be at increased risk of exploitation. For this, we can utilise our Big Talk resources.

Individual support or targeted programmes may be considered. Parents and pupils will be involved and consulted. 

Videos to prompt discussions:



Videos used in school 

Inspiring The Future - Redraw The Balance

Boys Vs. Girls - Who's Stronger?

Love Has No Labels - Diversity & Inclusion

And Tango Makes Three