Chestnut Grove Academy
45 Chestnut Grove
Balham, London SW12 8JZ

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Health is a timetabled weekly lesson which encourages students to reflect on and promote their own personal ‘Health’ in the most holistic sense of the word. We have developed a curriculum specific to Chestnut Grove Academy which enables students to explore their mental, emotional, physical and sexual health. Health is essential for safeguarding students and ensuring they can make safe and healthy decisions in their lives. It also encompasses Citizenship, allowing students to learn about politics and global affairs. Our curriculum is award-winning; in 2016, the school received the Accord Inclusivity Award for its PSHE and RE curricula and in 2017 the school was awarded the DfE Equalities Award, in part because of its Health curriculum. 

Every half term, each student works on a project where they are able to showcase their ideas surrounding these controversial issues. Homework allows students to campaign for their rights and the rights of others.​

Section 241 of the Education Act 1993 gives parents the right to withdraw their children from sex and relationships education, other than those elements which are required by the National Curriculum Science Order. This remains the law even under the new changes, until a student is aged 15 at which point they can choose to return to lessons against their parent's wishes. 

We strongly advise against removing children from relationships education. Students, by law, must study sexual behaviour in science but it is in Health lessons that they are able to explore how to ensure sex is safe and respectful at all times. Sex and relationships lessons only form a small part of the Health curriculum and, as such, students cannot be removed from the lesson permanently.

It is realised that, against school and government advice, under exceptional circumstances, a very small number of parents may wish to exclude their children from this programme. In this case, such parents should write to the Headteacher, stating their objections. It is then the responsibility of the parent to provide the student with alternative work to undertake while the sex education lessons are being undertaken. Parents can find out about when sex and relationships education will be taking place within the Health curriculum by looking at the Health handbook. They will then be invited to discuss which lessons they would like their children to be removed from, from lessons on bullying to lessons on consent, all of which are classed as 'relationships' education.


In Health (Period 1 on Monday), students study a wide range of topics that relate to SMSC, including issues surrounding bullying, relationships, extremism and discrimination. 

Tutor time enables students to consider a wide range of current affair issues as they hit the headlines. This often involves discussing newspaper articles and watching news clips.

Assemblies provide an important forum for enabling students to reflect on a wide range of issues which relate to SMSC and British Values.

Student leadership actively promotes SMSC by giving students the opportunity to engage in democratic elections and to participate in decision making which often has a SMSC dimension.

All subjects have numerous opportunities to promote SMSC development throughout the academic year. We firmly believe that SMSC will not always be an explicit component of a curriculum but can still be promoted through the values of the academy which will be an intrinsic element of every lesson.

Studying SMSC at Chestnut Grove Academy allows us to develop our students’ understanding of the world, beyond our timetabled subjects. We host an annual LGBT+, Interfaith Day, Immigration Day, a Race and Identity Panel and Feminism Panel. Students commemorate events such as Mental Health Awareness Week and every tutor group raises money or awareness for charity each term. Equality and Human Rights Club is also held weekly for any student who wants to take part.