PSHE, RSE, SMSC and Protected Characteristics

PSHE, RSE, SMSC and Protected Characteristics

 PSHE, RSE, Protected Characteristics, SMSC, British Values and Personal Development

We follow  Jigsaw, the mindful approach to teaching the PSHE curriculum, from Reception to Year 6.  This is a whole-school approach that builds social skills, grows emotional literacy, enables good mental health and nurtures children’s positive relationships with themselves and others. 

See how the Jigsaw mindful approach to PSHE works by reading the documents below.

For an overview of what learning is covered in each year group, please see below.

The Jigsaw curriculum includes Relationships and Health Education and fully meets the updated guidance, please see below.

Promoting the 'Protected Characteristics' at Gerrans  Primary School

The Equality Act became law in 2010. It covers everyone in Britain and protects people from discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Everyone in Britain is protected. This is because the Equality Act (2010) protects people against discrimination because of the protected characteristics that we all have.


 Under the Equality Act (2010), there are nine Protected Characteristics:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Marriage or civil partnership
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Pregnancy and maternity

At Gerrans Primary School, we actively promote these in our curriculum and work to embed them into our school culture, as part of PSHE lessons and in the wider curriculum. Each year group, use pre-selected books to read to and discuss with children as part of teaching them about protected characteristics. Please see our books and how teaching pupils about protected characteristics is embedded in the Jigsaw PSHE Curriculum.


Jigsaw, our PSHE curriculum, takes a multi-faceted approach to the teaching of protected characteristics. Equality and diversity are promoted within the PSHE curriculum, during school assemblies, in science and where applicable, other subjects too. The school has its 'Golden Values' which promote respect and responsibility at the heart of all actions.    


Our inclusive approach starts with children in Nursery and Reception (ages 3-5) and continues to develop through the age ranges. Jigsaw establishes ground rules that are fundamental to creating and maintaining an inclusive and safe teaching and learning environment. Establishing such an environment for both our pupils and teachers is important for PSHE education lessons – especially those focusing on equality and the protected characteristics as it


 • enables them to feel comfortable exploring values and attitudes

• enables them to express their own opinions and consider the views and opinions of others, without the fear of negative feedback, and only if they choose to.


Jigsaw establishes a safe, open and inclusive learning environment based on trusting relationships between all members of the class, adults and pupils alike. To enable this, ‘ground rules’ are agreed and referred to as ‘The Jigsaw Charter’. This creates a space where pupils can feel safe and their wishes are taken seriously by all. Pupils choose whether they speak or not and their right to pass is upheld and respected. Pupils are taught to respect the privacy of others and to do their best to keep what is said confidential during lessons, although it is recognised that complete confidentiality is impossible as adults teach children that any information relating to safeguarding concerns must be reported.


Throughout Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, students are encouraged by staff to ask questions, to find someone who can help them, and ultimately to help themselves by becoming more independent; in terms of content, the Puzzle ‘Celebrating Difference’ is the most pertinent of units for teaching about the protected characteristics, as it focuses on similarities and differences and teaches about diversity, such as disability, racism, gender, family composition, friendships, and conflict. Children learn to accept everyone’s right to ‘difference’, and most year groups explore the concept of ‘normal’. Bullying – what it is and what it isn’t, including cyber and homophobic bullying – is an important aspect of this Puzzle. The ‘Relationships’ puzzle also has a wide focus, looking at diverse topics such as families, friendships, equality in relationships, and love and loss – all of which can help to deliver the vital messages behind the Equality Act. A vital part of this puzzle is about safeguarding and keeping children safe; this links to cyber safety and social networking, as well as attraction and assertiveness; children learn how to deal with conflict, their own strengths and self-esteem. They have the chance to explore roles and responsibilities in families and look at stereotypes. All Jigsaw lessons are delivered in an age- and stage-appropriate way so that they meet pupils’ needs and can help them understand the wider world. The Jigsaw curriculum aligns to the Equality Act.


Another way we embed a culture of developing pupils’ understanding of the protected characteristics is by learning about and advocating equality and diversity. One way we do this is through the literature we use.   All new book orders purchased for the school will  ensure that gender and gender identity, religion, race, sexual orientation, disability and age is explored. The focus of the literature is to notice, celebrate and develop resilience around diversity. Through discussion, children are encouraged to show respect and develop their understanding of diversity.


The grid below shows how particular Jigsaw lessons address themes relating to protected characteristics:


Protected Characteristic

What this refers to

Links to Jigsaw


Where this is referred to, it refers to a person belonging to a particular age (for example 32 year olds) or range of ages (for example 18 to 30 year olds).

Celebrating Difference Ages 10-11 Piece 3: Power Struggles

Gender Reassignment

The process of transitioning from one gender to another.

Celebrating Difference Ages 5-6 Piece 6: Celebrating Me. Ages 7-8 Piece 5: Gender diversity Ages 8-9 Piece 1: Judging by appearances Ages 10-11 Piece 2: Understanding difference


Marriage is no longer restricted to a union between a man and a woman but now includes a marriage between a same-sex couple. Same-sex couples can also have their relationships legally recognised as 'civil partnerships'. Civil partners must not be treated less favourably than married couples (except where permitted by the Equality Act).

Celebrating Difference Ages 7-8 Piece 1: Families

Being pregnant or on maternity leave

Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.

Celebrating Difference Ages 3-4/4-5 Piece 3: Families Ages 7-8 Piece 1: Families


A person has a disability if she or he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on that person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Celebrating Difference Ages 10-11 Piece 5: Celebrating difference

Race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin

Refers to the protected characteristic of Race. It refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.

Celebrating Difference Ages 9-10 Piece 2: Racism

Religion, belief or lack of religion/belief

Religion has the meaning usually given to it but belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (such as Atheism). Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition.

Celebrating Difference Ages 9-10 Piece 1: Different Cultures


A man or a woman.

Celebrating Difference Ages 6-7 Pieces 1&2: Boys and Girls

Sexual Orientation


Whether a person's sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes.

Changing Me Ages 10-11 Piece 4: Boyfriends and girlfriends



At Gerrans  School, children learn about British Values through assemblies, PSHE and the wider curriculum.  We also ensure that the children are 'living' these values in school. We hope that through the promotion of British Values, children will have:


  • An understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process
  • An appreciation that living under the rule of law protects individual citizens and is essential for their wellbeing and safety
  • An understanding that the freedom to choose and hold other faiths and beliefs is protected in law
  • An acceptance that other people having different faiths or beliefs to oneself (or having none) should be accepted and tolerated, and should not be the cause of prejudicial or discriminatory behaviour
  • An understanding of the importance of identifying and combating discrimination


Some ways in which we teach or provide experiences for children are:



Democracy is embedded at the school.  Pupils are listened to by adults and are taught to listen carefully and with concern for each other, respecting the right of every individual to have their opinions and voices heard.  Pupils have the opportunity to share their opinions and ideas through our 'Class converstations' and regular pupil voice.   The children also have the opportunity to develop oracy skills through debate.  The History curriculum teaches children about how democracy was not always evident in the past and how this affected society.


Rule of Law

The importance of laws whether they are those that govern the class, the school or the country, are consistently reinforced throughout our school day, through our school assemblies and as part of our behavioural expectations and routines. We encourage our pupils to distinguish right from wrong and help them to understand that living under the rule of law protects individuals.  Our pupils are taught the values and reasons behind laws, that they govern and protect us, the responsibilities that this involves and the consequences when laws are broken. Visits from the Police etc. also help to reinforce our messages. Our restorative justice approach helps us to resolve conflicts.



Tolerance of Difference Faiths and Religions


Gerrans ensures tolerance of those who have different faiths and beliefs through religious education studies and PSHE.  Children and staff from all faiths have the opportunity to share their celebrations and religious beliefs during assemblies.  The school also welcomes local faith leaders to lead assemblies.


Mutual Respect


Respect is promoted across the school and it is embedded in all that we do as one of our  'Golden Values' .  Pupils know and understand that respect is expected and shown to everyone, no matter what their role or the differences we may have.  Our 'Golden Values'  influence our work every day both in and out of the classroom.


Our school frequently participates in learning activities which promote mutual respect including visits to local nursing homes, supporting local and global charities, online Googlemeetings with schools in Punjab,  involvement with groups of people in our community such as Gerrans  Church and Wild Roseland.


The school also promotes openness and honesty to ensure a safe environment. Pupils are confident to discuss their differences and expect to be respected. Pupils with SEND and medical conditions  are able to, if they wish, share their needs to enable others to better understand them.  A wide and varied range of extra-curricular clubs are offered after the school day.  These clubs provide another opportunity for mutual respect to be secured in the attitudes of our pupils, both amongst those participating from their own setting, and any visiting staff or teams. Pupils have opportunities to represent Gerrans School in the wider community and county. 


Individual Liberty


Within school, pupils are actively encouraged to make choices, knowing that they are in a safe and supportive environment.  As a school we educate and provide boundaries for our pupils to make choices safely, through the provision of a safe environment and an empowering education. We support pupils to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence - a focus on oracy and the ability to debate and share one's thoughts is a priority.  Our pupils are encouraged to know, understand and exercise their rights and personal freedoms and are advised how to exercise these safely; examples of this can be clearly seen in our PSHE lessons.


The Promotion of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development


SMSC stands for Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education. It is not taught as a lesson, rather it is part of Religious Education, Physical Education, Personal, Social and Health Education and part of the ethos and culture of the school which children experience on a daily basis. SMSC is a key means of promoting British values and counteracting the development of religious extremism. The resource below, demonstrates the many ways we promote SMSC at Gerrans School.


 Gerrans Primary School teaches personal development in a wide range of ways throughout the children’s school lives. For example:


  • It is taught in discrete lessons (please see links to our curriculum maps)
  • It is taught with cross-curricular links in other lessons, such as English, physical education and religious education
  • Staff members consistently model how to be a good citizen who uphold the school cultures
  • Assemblies (whole school and special visitors)
  • Specialist staff working with individuals and groups
  • E-Safety lessons in computing and assembly
  • Celebrating positive learning attributes with weekly certificates 
  • A range of after school clubs
  • Well thought through transitions throughout the school and beyond
  • Focusing on mental and physical health
  • Pupil voice
  • Celebrating different languages, cultures and religions
  • Outdoor activity trips

Gerrans Primary School Personal Development Programme


Our personal development curriculum includes the following strands.

▪ relationships education

▪ sex education (this is optional for primary schools and there is no

statutory content defined here)

▪ health education – physical health and mental well-being

▪ other elements commonly included in PSHE: pupils’ wider safety,

economic understanding, understanding of technology and media

▪ citizenship

▪ development of character, confidence and resilience

▪ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development

▪ wider opportunities for pupils

▪ British values

▪ inclusion and equality of opportunity

All areas are additionally linked to the school’s PSHE and RSE curriculum.


PD in the Early Years


PSED is one of the three prime areas within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Each prime area is divided into early learning goals, for PSED these are:

  • Self-Regulation - Show an understanding of their own feelings and those of others, and begin to regulate their behaviour accordingly; - Set and work towards simple goals, being able to wait for what they want and control their immediate impulses when appropriate; Give focused attention to what the teacher says, responding appropriately even when engaged in activity, and show an ability to follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.
  • Managing Self - Be confident to try new activities and show independence, resilience and perseverance in the face of challenge; Explain the reasons for rules, know right from wrong and try to behave accordingly; Manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs, including dressing, going to the toilet and understanding the importance of healthy food choices.
  • Building Relationships - Work and play cooperatively and take turns with others; Form positive attachments to adults and friendships with peers; Show sensitivity to their own and to others' needs

Useful Websites


  • Pop ‘n’ Olly – LGBT+ education for primary schools
  • Mind – To provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
  • Bullying – Advice and support for children and young people experiencing bullying
  • CAHMS Resources – Resources to support mental health and wellbeing.
  • Childline – A counselling service for children and young people.
  • BBC Bitesize – PSHE and citizenship videos to help children’s understanding.
  • NCPCC’s Pantosaurus – A video to help children stay safe and keeping their private parts private.
  • NSPCC – Information and support for child abuse
  • Mind – Mental Wellbeing resources for young people. 
  • Growth Mindset – Should you tell your kids they are smart or talented? Professor Carol Dweck answers this question and more, as she talks about her ground-breaking work on developing mind-sets. She emphasizes the power of “yet” in helping students succeed in and out of the classroom