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Anna Wharfe - Head of SPHERE - anna.wharfe@swale.at

Subject Overview

SPHERE (Social, Personal, Health, Economic and Religious Education) provides a vital foundation for the personal development of our pupils in preparing them for adult life and a framework for understanding the issues, culture and systems of the community and world within which they live.

Our curriculum follows the Government’s framework at KS3 and 4, which allows pupils to develop skills, knowledge and understanding in the following areas:

• Developing confidence and responsibility in order to make the most of their abilities.
• Developing a healthy and safe lifestyle.
• Developing positive relationships and respecting the differences between people.

The overarching aim for SPHERE education is to provide students with:

• The skills and strategies they need in order to live healthy, safe, fulfilling, responsible and balanced lives.
• Opportunities to explore, clarify, evaluate and, if necessary challenge their own and others’ values, attitudes, beliefs, rights and responsibilities.
• An evidence based approach, supporting them to build accurate and relevant knowledge.
• Opportunities to turn that knowledge into understanding and to make responsible and considerate choices.

Teaching and Learning

In year 7 each pupil receives two SPHERE lessons a fortnight. They are taught in mixed attainment and mixed gender groups.

From year 9 pupils will receive one SPHERE lesson a fortnight. In addition, students taking three option subjects (i.e. non-Baccalaureate students) will work towards the AQA Religious Studies GCSE, specification A.

Year 7

• Transition to PCS
• Creation Stories
• Relationship and Sex Education
• An introduction to the Islamic Religion
• Careers
• An Introduction to Judaism
• Defining drugs and investigating the risks associated with alcohol

Year 8

Careers and year 8 options includes exploring job families, awareness of gender role stereotyping and starting to think about option subject choices.

• An Introduction to the Christian religion.
• Identity and society includes the chance to consider the good and bad consequences which come from behaviour choices, using empathy as a way to avoid bullying and the problem of racism in society.
• An introduction to Hinduism.
• Relationship and sex education. Includes information on the qualities of relationships, understanding consent, an introduction to condom use and safe online behaviour with respect to sharing private images.
• An introduction to democracy and our rights and responsibilities in UK society.
• Drugs and substance misuse including information on caffeine, alcohol and smoking to aid making healthy choices.

Year 9

Core SPHERE - one lesson a fortnight. Students study:

• Identity and society with a focus on stereotypes and discrimination.
• Alcohol and substance misuse with a focus on cannabis and novel-psychoactive substances.
• Relationships and sex education with a focus on knowing the components of healthy and unhealthy relationships, using empathy to enhance relationships and methods of contraception.

SPHERE where the student is taking the AQA Religious Studies GCSE.

Topics are designed to support their work on RS curriculum content and build a wider understanding of world issues, cultures and systems of government, including:

• Christian belief in God
• World Development
• Financial capability
• Democracy
• Human Rights
• An introduction to Philosophy
• An introduction to Buddhism

Year 10

Core SPHERE - one lesson a fortnight. Students study:

• Physical and mental wellbeing including lifestyle choices and body image
• Careers
• Relationship and sex education including healthy and unhealthy relationships, safe and legal use of social media, types of sexually transmitted infection and how to prevent and treat them and contraception.
• Substance misuse with a focus on risks and consequences, addiction, the risks of cannabis use and novel psychoactive substances.

SPHERE where the student is taking the AQA RS GCSE:

• Study of Christianity
• Crime and punishment
• Peace and conflict

Year 11

SPHERE where there is one lesson a fortnight. Students will study:

• How to complete college applications
• College and work interviews
• Relationship and sex education, ensuring they understand that pornography does not represent a realistic way to undertake relationships and sex
• Pornography and the law
• Consent
• Peer pressure and influence
• Contraception
• Substance misuse.

SPHERE where the student is taking the AQA RS GCSE:

• Study of Buddhism
• Relationships and families
• Religion and life


With the exception of the RS GCSE pathway there is no formal assessment in SPHERE. Students will be given criteria about what is expected for each progress pathway. These criteria, combined with the learning objectives provided in all lessons, are designed to help students achieve their target grades or above.

The RS GCSE specification expects students to develop through description, explanation and evaluation of key religious ideas. This work should be supported with reference to the relevant religious teachings. The ability to express and explain your own beliefs and opinions in comparison to those of others is also assessed.


Homework is not set for SPHERE lessons.

Teaching Staff

Beccy Pook - Head of SPHERE - beccy.pook@swale.at