Education, Personal and Relationships  

‘I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full’
JOHN 10:10


What is EPR ?

  • EPR is an important area of our curriculum which aims to give children the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead healthy lives and be responsible citizens. It forms an integral part of a child’s development, and is brought into our discussions in such a way as to ensure that knowledge and understanding of oneself and others is developed.
  • The children grow more confident about aspects of their own lives, their self-esteem, their health, their beliefs, their relationships with others, and their ability to express their feelings and to cope with life’s problems.
  • We encourage pupils to participate in these discussions and activities, which lead to a greater awareness of their social and moral responsibilities.

Why is it important to learn EPR?

  • At Cottesmore, we believe that education is about the growth and development of the whole person and our EPR curriculum is very much part of this preparation. EPR gives the children opportunities to reflect on their feelings and relationships and develop the skills to manage them more confidently. They also learn about leading healthy and safe lives and about the cultural diversity of our world.

What is learnt in EPR?
Click here to see the curriculum map


How is EPR taught at Cottesmore?
EPR is taught through 2 EPR afternoons per half term, one at the start and one at the end. These sessions are coordinated across the whole school so that the focus has a high profile and we celebrate the learning involved in assemblies.

Additionally, because of the nature of the subject, there are opportunities for EPR to be covered by making cross curricular links. In many cases, EPR can be taught through many other subjects such as RE, PE, Science, Maths, Computing or History.

At times, we make use of visitors to support the delivery of EPR; this has included the School’s Liaison Police Officer, members of the emergency services as well as other community organisations.

In addition to EPR, we have several school initiatives that enhance and support children’s social and emotional learning.

1. Playbuddies
Cottesmore St Mary engenders a culture of mutual support and looking after each other and one way that we do this is through a peer support program called Playbuddies. Within this scheme, Year 6 children take on a special role in the playground:
• They lead games and ensure children are included
• They help to sort out conflict using Peaceful Problem Solving Strategies
• They listen to the problems of other children
• They help children who are hurt.
The Playbuddies receive training and have regular meetings. They learn about listening skills and empathy from visitors such as speakers from The Samaritans and Safety Net – a local charity.

2. Anti-Bullying Week

Here is our 'Cottesmore Children's Guide to Antibullying'.  It was written by Mrs McLoughlin and the School Council.

Please click here for the Council 'Safe from bullying' leaflet which aims to support parents and carers to work with schools to resolve bullying issues - Signpost to parent carer leaflet

Click here to find out about the Community Casework Safety Team - a Council service which can offer mediation in bullying cases.

What to do if you see somebody being bullied at Cottesmore?

VIDEO – ‘I AM’ ANTI BULLYING FILM


Every November, Cottesmore celebrates National Anti-Bullying week.

  • During this time the children explore issues around bullying and talk about bullying is and how it differs from other conflict situations. We talk about what bullying looks like (eg physical, social, cyber, verbal) and we share the school definition:
  • We celebrate Blue Day when all children dress in blue to show their support for anti-bullying work and to celebrate the fact that the majority of our children (93% in 2014) feel safe at school and enjoy happy and secure friendships.
  • We also hold a special anti-bullying competition every year. Previous events have included a design an antibullying screen saver, antibullying classroom door competition, and a poster competition.
  • Safe at School Survey
    We take part in a city wide survey wherein the children in Years 4,5 and 6 are asked to give their views on bullying in our school. We analyse the results of this survey annually and then take findings to the School Council to discuss and decide on actions we can take to improve the situation. Other year groups are also surveyed to find out their views on aspects of school life such as the playground and friendships.

3. Peaceful Problem Solving (PPS)

PPS is a schoolwide code of behaviour aimed at dealing with the management and fair resolution of conflict. It involves the children in talking through their conflicts and associated feelings with the use of a mediator. It is applied around the school and in the playground. All staff are taught the steps involved in PPS and how to use them to tackle conflict situations.
“Good quality provision for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development promotes pupils’ high self-esteem and confidence. Pupils and parents report that the school’s ‘family atmosphere’ also plays an effective part in the development of these skills. This is further reflected in their good behaviour and enthusiasm for learning.” OFSTED 2012

4. Keeping Safe: Protective Behaviours

Protective Behaviours is a safety awareness and resilience building programme which the school adopted last year. We believe that this programme is an essential part of our school curriculum. It helps the children to recognise any situation where they feel worried or unsafe, such as feeling stressed, bullied or threatened, and explores practical ways to keep safe. Protective Behaviours also looks at identifying support networks for times when we need someone to listen and help.

Protective Behaviours is based on two key messages:

- We all have the right to feel safe all of the time
- We can talk with someone about anything, even if it feels awful or small

Below are the key learning objectives that your child will be taught during each session. In the past, parents and carers have told us they found it useful to know in advance the content of each of the lessons as well as when they would occur. This enabled them to support their child's learning at home if they wished. Some parents also found it useful to be prepared in case their child asked them questions about certain areas that are covered.

This year we continue to build on our Protective Behaviours work, increasing the links with our overall EPR curriculum (Education for Personal Relationships) and exploring new ways for parents to get involved including optional home learning activities for the end of each lesson. Parents and carers will be informed when lessons occur via the school newsletter, and the scheme of work is also displayed here on our website.

There are four key themes to the programme which develop throughout the year groups.
Lesson 1 - Feelings and Feeling safe
Lesson 2 - Feeling Unsafe and early Warning Signs/The Safety Scale - 'Fun to feel scared'
Lesson 3 - Body awareness and safe Touch/Secrets and Telling
Lesson 4 - Getting Help/Networks of Support, Problem-Solving and Resistance

Throughout the programme the children are encouraged to recognise their feelings of safety in different situations. When we feel unsafe, our bodies tell us through physical sensations that something is wrong. Within our working school these situations are called early warning signs; however we may also refer to them as natural instincts, gut feelings or intuition.

Children are encouraged to identify their early warning signs - for example, butterflies in their stomach, sweaty hands, goose bumps, racing heart - and the situations in which they can occur.

There are generally three types of situations where we experience early warning signs:

- When we feel unsafe, but are having fun and are in control of the situation - ie: it is our choice to be there. For example, watching a scary movie, diving off a high board or riding a roller coaster.

- When we feel unsafe, it is not fun, but we are still in control. For example, going to the dentist or sitting an exam.

- When we feel unsafe, it is not fun and we have no control over the situation. These situations are personal emergencies as the child is in danger of losing control over what happens to them. For example, being lost, being bullied, or being abused.

In a personal emergency, children are encouraged to:

• Use safety strategies and personal networks to regain control of the situation and restore them to a state of physical and emotional safety
• Dial 999 if in immediate danger
• Report non urgent incidents by calling their local police station

Children are encouraged to develop a 'Safety Network' of trusted adults who will listen to them, believe them and help them if they need help. Ideally, a child's network should consist of at least five trusted adults chosen by them who are available, supportive, trustworthy and willing to listen. They should also be willing to take action, if needed, in order to help the child feel and be safe again.

Networks of trusted people should be people children can talk to about all things - good things as well as things that concern them.

Within this programme we teach children the biological names for their private parts, but any names that parents have also chosen to use are okay too. Naming of body parts is a subject that some people feel uncomfortable about, but we believe that avoiding such conversations can lead to children becoming confused - especially if they are trying to let someone know that they are in discomfort or if something else has happened to them. Cases have been documented in which a child was trying to tell an adult something important, but they did not have the appropriate words to use - and so key information was overlooked and missed. Using the 'official' names for our body parts helps us all to have the appropriate dialogue in school, and the words are used with care and respect. We make it clear that the children may well also have their own words for private parts of their bodies; the important thing is that they know the biological words too.

Feedback from parents, children and staff regarding this programme over the past year has been extremely positive.

Please click on the links below for the overview for each year group:

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6