Leicestershire City Council: developing expert teachers

Leicestershire County Council has invested in training teachers and school leaders in how to provide high quality relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE). This case study is an example of the many pro-active and positive approaches which local authorities are taking to support inclusive RSE.


Key points

  • One-day workshops tailored individually to primary, secondary and specialist schools along with a separate one for school leaders.
  • Schools being given access to nationallyrecognised lesson resources.
  • Eight teachers have completed professional training.

Responsibility for personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education teaching – and RSE in particular – is a bit of a grey area. In some schools it is left to form teachers, while in others there are dedicated members of staff. It can mean confidence and knowledge in how to deliver high quality lessons can vary.

What was done?

Leicestershire County Council has invested in training teachers and school leaders in how to provide high quality RSE.

A series of one-day workshops have been run since September 2017 covering everything from the latest policy and lesson planning to answering difficult questions.

There are different workshops for primary, secondary and specialist schools. School leaders, such as heads, deputy heads, governors and PSHE leads, also have their own workshop, while there is a fifth course open to non-school staff, such as housing officers and youth centre workers.

So far 170 have been through the training. Those who have taken part are full of praise, describing it as a “brilliant”, “full of ideas” and a “fabulous way to think and start positive conversations”.

Why?

A public health commissioner from the council said PSHE and RSE have remained very much a “Cinderella” area of teaching.

“We need to develop real expertise and professionalism in delivering this education – that is what we have tried to do.

“We have a good track record on working with schools in the field of health. We still have a strong healthy schools programme in place with 98 per cent of schools involved.

“We have a good track record on working with schools in the field of health. We still have a strong healthy schools programme in place with 98 per cent of schools involved.

&What else is happening?

To help further, the council has invested money in paying for schools to access specialised lesson resources and put teachers through extra training.

Last year eight teachers from a variety of different schools took part in the National PSHE CPD programme. It involves three days of training and course work in between. The aim is to improve confidence and capability to deliver PSHE. It teaches them how to develop their own school’s curriculum, raise the quality of teaching and best practice.

Alongside this the council has paid half of the cost for 20 schools to access the Cambridgeshire continuing professional development tool and this year 20 secondary schools will get access to the 11 to 16 Jigsaw PSHE resource. Both offer lesson plans, guides and advice and tips on delivering high quality PSHE education.

The public health commissioner added: “We have limited budget so have to be quite careful how we spent it so I have tried to get schools interested with the view that they will see the benefits of investing in this and carry it on.

“We really need to value high quality teaching in this area. Not all teachers are comfortable with teaching this, but the introduction of statutory RSE is an opportunity to make sure we improve standards.”