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Working out Relationships?

About these free teaching materials for PSHE lessons

Working out Relationships? is a fun and interactive two-part lesson plan for use in PSHE classes for Key Stage 4 pupils devised by Prof. Anne Barlow and Dr Jan Ewing at Exeter Law School. It is based on an idea which came from the findings of an interdisciplinary research study on relationships where they worked with local schools. These lesson plans were then tested by schools in Devon in an ongoing project (HeaRE) funded by the Wellcome Centre.

The evidence-based lesson plans are one of a select few resources to be awarded the prestigious PSHE Association quality mark, demonstrating that the resources are at the leading edge of effective teaching practice in PSHE. In choosing to use these resources in your PSHE teaching you can be confident that they meet the rigorous standards set by the PSHE Association for quality mark approval.

From September 2020, it will be a legal requirement for schools to teach relationship education. Pupils will be required to learn about safety in forming and maintaining relationships and the characteristics of healthy relationships. Drawing on the findings from an innovative 10-year research project on what helps long term relationships to thrive, the lesson plans have been written to meet the required change of emphasis from sex education to the relationship aspect of Relationship and Sex Education.

The lesson plans and accompanying video use a gym theme to normalise that, like a gym membership, relationships are fun but require work.

In lesson 1, pupils consider the relationship of a fictitious 16-year-old couple, Paul and Sarah. In a safe environment, they learn how to identify the characteristics of an unhealthy relationship and how to exit such relationships safely.

Building on the learning from lesson 1, in lesson 2 pupils are introduced to Jess and Ethan, both 16. Pupils will consider a short video, drawing on the research findings, to learn about the key attributes of healthy relationships. They will practise communication skills that will help them to build happy, healthy relationships of their own.

Both lessons have slides and full teaching guides to assist preparation. For ease, the teaching PowerPoint for each lesson has a link to the Working out Relationships? video. A fun infographic, using the gym theme, reinforces learning from the lessons. Laminated A3 or A4 copies of the infographic for classroom walls are available free of charge by emailing J.Ewing@exeter.ac.uk.