“Health is not simply the absence of illness. Real health and wellbeing is the will to overcome every form of adversity and use even the worst of circumstances as a springboard for new growth and development. Simply put, the essence of health and wellbeing is the constant renewal and rejuvenation of yourself.”

– Daisaku Ikeda

Subject Intent

We seek to create students who are habitual, motivated, critical and informed in their approaches to lifelong health and wellbeing. Our health-based approach seeks to get students valuing a physically active life, so that they learn to value and practise physical activity for their health and well-being, joy, social interaction and personal challenge through relevant and meaningful learning experiences. Opportunities that foster critical thinking and self-reflection skills will develop the confidence to express feelings and emotions, and plan for positive change when faced with adversity. Our programme will allow students to develop their perceptions of autonomy, competence, and relatedness in their health awareness in order to develop sustainable attitudes, relationships, and the increased capacity for lifelong wellbeing.

The Health and Wellbeing Area of Learning and Experience (Area) provides a holistic structure for understanding health and well-being. It is concerned with developing the capacity of learners to navigate life’s opportunities and challenges. The fundamental components of this Area are physical health and development, mental health, and emotional and social wellbeing. It will support learners to understand and appreciate how the different components of health and well-being are interconnected, and it recognises that good health and wellbeing are important to enable successful learning.

Engagement with this Area will help to foster a whole-school approach that enables health and wellbeing to permeate all aspects of school life.

What matters in this Area has been expressed in five statements which support and complement one another and should not be viewed in isolation. In order to achieve this holistic approach, teachers should seek to draw across all five statements when planning activities. Together they contribute to realising the four purposes of the curriculum.

Effective realisation of the vision described in this Area is fundamental to developing healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society. By developing learners’ motivation, resilienceempathy and decision-making abilities, they can be supported to become ambitious, capable learners, ready to learn throughout their lives.

Learners can also be supported to become ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world by developing their ability to show respect, to value equity, to listen to others and to evaluate the social influences affecting them.

Through enabling learners to manage risks, express ideas and emotions, develop and maintain healthy relationships, and take on different roles and responsibilities, the learning and experience in this Area can support learners to become enterprising, creative contributors ready to play a full part in life and work.

Developing physical health and well-being has lifelong benefits. 

This Area can help learners to understand the factors that affect physical health and well-being. This includes health-promoting behaviours such as physical activity, including but not limited to sport; balanced diet; personal care and hygiene; sleep; and protection from infection. It also includes an understanding of health-harming behaviours.

From this understanding, learners can develop positive, informed behaviours that encourage them both to care for and respect themselves and others. These behaviours support learners’ sense of self-worth, their overall mood and energy levels.

Learners will be encouraged to develop the confidence, motivation, physical competence, knowledge and understanding that can help them lead healthy and active lifestyles which promote good physical health and well-being.

How we process and respond to our experiences affects our mental health and emotional wellbeing.

This Area can help learners explore the connections between their experiences, mental health and emotional well-being. By being provided with opportunities to explore the complexities of these connections, learners can be enabled to recognise that feelings and emotions are neither fixed nor consistent.

Having an awareness of our own feelings and emotions is the foundation upon which empathy can be developed. This can enable us to act in a way which supports the mental health and emotional well-being of others. Supporting learners to develop strategies which help them to regulate their emotions can contribute towards good mental health and emotional well-being.

By learning how to communicate their feelings, learners will be better placed to create a culture where talking about mental health and emotional wellbeing is normalised.

What Matters Statements

Our decision-making impacts on the quality of our lives and the lives of others.

This Area can help learners to understand how decisions and actions impact on themselves, on others and on wider society, both now and in the future. It can also help learners understand the factors that influence decision-making, thus placing them in a better position to make more informed and considered decisions.

Learning and experience in this Area can enable learners to develop the critical-thinking skills necessary to consider their decision-making in terms of possible implications, including risks, for themselves and others. This can offer learners opportunities to engage in collective decision-making and to understand the importance of their contributions to this process.

A key decision that affects learners for life is around their career pathways.

How we engage with social influences shapes who we are and affects our health and wellbeing. 

This Area can help learners understand the important role of social influences on their lives. These influences are comprised of rules, social normsattitudes and values that are created and reinforced by different social groups. It is through interaction with social groups that we experience these influences. They affect our identity, values, behaviours and health and well-being, and often do so without our being aware of it.

Learners will need to engage critically with these social influences within their own culture, as well as those of others, in order to understand how norms and values develop. This can enable them to understand how their own behaviours, relationships and experiences are shaped.

Healthy relationships are fundamental to our wellbeing.  

This Area can help learners understand and value how feelings of belonging and connection that come from healthy relationships have a powerful effect on health well-being.

Learners need to recognise when relationships are unhealthy and need to be aware of how to keep safe, and seek support for themselves and others.

Learners will be encouraged to understand that, throughout their lives, they will experience a range of relationships. They will also be encouraged to develop their abilities to form, nurture and maintain relationships.

As a result, they will see how healthy relationships are vital for a healthy body and mind, allowing us to thrive.


PSE is crucial to school life at Hawthorn to help us develop healthy, happy and successful pupils.  PSE is a statutory element of the curriculum and as such all Key Stage 3 pupils have PSE lessons on their timetable.  At Hawthorn we also hold PSE Days for Years 7-10 where we invite external providers to deliver sessions on numerous PSE topics.  PSE is also addressed through assemblies and form time.  As part of the PSE framework here at Hawthorn we cover such topics as:

  • Healthy relationships
  • Friends and family
  • Puberty
  • Anti-bullying
  • Healthy living
  • Substance misuse
  • Mental health awareness
  • Mindfulness
  • Moral dilemmas
  • Communication and teamwork
  • Self-confidence and self-managers
  • British Values
  • Racism
  • Religion and respect
  • Discrimination
  • The environment
  • Global citizenship

Health and Wellbeing GCSE subjects offered

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Level 1 / 2 Awards -Welsh Baccalaureate

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