Welcome to the Ac Laetari (‘be happy’) programme, our pastoral development and education programme.
This programme sits alongside our academic curriculum to support the pastoral development of each of our students. Delivering targeted, well-thought-out and ground-breaking initiatives at all levels throughout the School, our overarching aim is to equip each student with the necessary skills to tackle life with confidence and positivity, and to achieve all that they want to.
This document details our PSHE education and wider pastoral programme for our students, as well as details of talks and discussion evenings for parents.
In Goethe’s gothic drama, Faust, Mephistopheles (the Devil) is summoned by a lonely and desolate Faust. The two agree to make a pact and in exchange for his soul, Mephistopheles asks Faust what it is that he wants: money, sex or power?
Many people spend much of their lives in the pursuit of one or more of these powerful desires; however, many experts agree that for long-term happiness and wellbeing a careful balance between all three is needed. So, financial stability and a comfortable lifestyle, loving and enduring relationships and the sense of self-worth that comes from a successful career or other personal endeavours.
Get the balance wrong, however, as many a politician or other well-known celebrity has demonstrated, and ruin and unhappiness all too often await.
This year our ac laetari programme makes reference to this powerful, philosophical theme. In particular, our new financial education programme will help to equip our students with an understanding of the importance of money while, at the same time, recognising the folly of rampant consumerism. Our bespoke RSE programme for all year groups emphasises the importance of equal and respectful relationships and, as for power, our PSHE and wider co-curricular programme teaches our students about the importance and benefits of empathy and service to others through activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, the Combined Cadet Force and our Community Service programme.
Relationships and Sex Education
There’s always the pressure to fit in, which is unchangeable, and when lots of other people start having sexual relationships then you might feel a pressure to do the same.
KGS Sixth Form student
Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) is changing. From 2020, RSE is a compulsory subject in all secondary schools and it sits alongside PSHE which continues to be compulsory in all independent schools. The aim of RSE is to give children and young people the information needed to develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds, not just intimate relationships. Effective RSE does not encourage early sexual experimentation but teaches young people to understand human sexuality and to respect themselves and others.
At KGS, our own comprehensive, inclusive programme of RSE begins in the First Year and continues right through to the Sixth Form. For younger students, carefully planned and age-appropriate lessons help them to understand the physical and emotional side of growing up as well as helping them to identify inappropriate or unsafe behaviour or experiences. Further up the school, the emphasis switches to issues such as consent and the law, contraception and sexual health and healthy and unhealthy relationships. Students are also able to explore and discuss wider issues such as marriage, abortion, pornography and peer pressure. All students are also given opportunities to understand how healthy relationships can benefit their own wellbeing and self-respect.
This year we will be introducing the ‘Good Lad Initiative’ to our Fourth Year boys. This is a nation-wide project that engages men and boys in gender equality in order to overcome sexism, racism, homophobia and, indeed, any form of discriminatory behaviour. During these sessions, the boys will have an opportunity to talk and learn from each other about the issues at hand and, in particular, to combat the peer pressure that a lot of boys feel to conform to a certain standard of ‘being a man’. At the same time our Fourth Year girls will be given the opportunity to discuss feminism and gender stereotyping as well as specific issues such as casual sexism and sexual harassment of women.
This year we will be introducing a new financial education programme for our Fourth Year students. Working with a renowned financial company, St James Wealth Management, students will spend several days throughout the year learning about money management and finance. Topics covered will include day-to-day banking, saving, borrowing and budgeting. With so many of us now carrying out transactions online, these sessions will also help our students to better understand the do’s and don’ts of online shopping and how to avoid online fraud. These lessons will sit alongside the work we already do in PSHE such as basic money skills for our Second Year students and student finance and budgeting at university for our Upper Sixth students.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
I worry lots about doing things wrong or not well enough and the possible outcomes if I do not do everything perfectly.
KGS Middle School student
At KGS, our commitment to our student’s wellbeing remains absolute. Following on from the results of a wellbeing survey of all our students, we will continue to make the mental health and wellbeing of all our students a priority and to respond appropriately when our students need additional help and support. All of our students benefit from unrivalled pastoral care and a supportive community which places equal value on academic success and personal growth and development.
In the previous years we welcomed in the school, Natasha Devon MBE, the mental health campaigner. Natasha spent time with our First and Second Year students talking about issues around social media, body image and self-esteem. Natasha Devon's support was an opportunity for our students to think about coping mechanisms during times of stress and anxiety.
In the past we also welcomed the author Caroline Jones back to KGS to talk to our Fifth Year students about eating disorders.