“If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however if I treat you as though you are, what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that”.  (Goethe)

The philosophy of the PSHE Department is inspired by Prof Arthur Costa’s Habits of Mind dispositions and Prof Guy Glaxton’s ‘Building Learning Power,’ both paradigms engender a curriculum which aims to create a more thoughtful, spiritual, cooperative, compassionate generation of citizens who are skilful in resolving social, environmental, economic, and political world problems.

The PSHE course is thematic and holistic in its approach, incorporating amongst others the academic disciplines of Philosophy, Theology, Psychology and Sociology. The course is designed to instil in students skills and dispositions such as empathy, critical thinking, resilience and meta-cognition.

PSHE delivery at Stowe requires pupils to passionately and actively participate in each lesson through debate, questioning, presentations and enquiry. In addition students are encouraged to cogitate on their disposition to acquire skills in the following six areas: Self-Management, Working with Others, Critical and Creative Thinking, Leadership, Enquiry and Reflection. Pupils will formally self-assess their progress on the development of these dispositions throughout their Lower School career and these reflections are recorded.

The PSHE curriculum is delivered to all Lower School Stoics in a dedicated classroom during one period a week; the teacher and Head of Department is a subject specialist in the delivery of PSHE. 

In the Sixth Form a selection of inspiring external speakers are utilised; these are fundamental to furthering our pupils empathy for the subject matter encountered in the Lower School. Experiencing the narrative of someone who has life experience in dealing with such challenges as addiction, resilience or disability is inestimable.

The academic programme of study is supported and augmented by academic teaching and disciplines in many other departments, by staff in the medical centre, the Chaplaincy, The Peer Support Group, by the school counsellor and other associated professionals, and above all by the attentive eyes and ears of Housemasters, matrons, and others in pastoral roles at Stowe.

The objective of our PSHE curriculum is to ensure progression of knowledge and thinking skills within a framework that conceptually creates themes and connections within the topics studied.

However, the curriculum content is flexible to allow for impromptu topic delivery to a particular form or year group as the need arises. These specific issues may range from amongst others; bereavement, relationships or friendships and can be requested by students, tutors or housemasters in response to a particular issue within a form or year group.