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National Curriculum

National Curriculum Overview

The challenge facing Making Sense of Health is that no single subject in the National Curriculum deals exclusively and completely with health education. There are however three obvious ports of call in which health education has a legitimate and substantial place. These are science; personal, social and health education (PSHE); and citizenship.

The curriculum at Key Stages 1 and 2

Making Sense of Health has produced three 20-minute, attractive and informative films for primary school students that deal with health education issues within the context of teaching science. The films are Teeth and Eating, The Human Machine and Amazing Micro-organisms.

The content of the films has been chosen to reflect the requirements of the National Curriculum programme of study in science.

At Key Stage 1 the programme of study states that pupils should be taught:

  • Humans and other animals need food and water to stay alive, Sc2 2b
  • That taking exercise and eating the right types of food help humans to keep healthy, Sc2 2 c
  • About the role of drugs as medicines, Sc2 2d

At Key Stage 2 the programme of study states that children should be taught:

  • About the care and function of teeth, Sc 2 2a
  • About the need for food for activity and about the importance of an adequate and varied diet, Sc2 2b
  • That the heart acts as a pump to circulate the blood through vessels around the body including the lungs, Sc2 2 2c
  • About the effects of exercise and rest on the pulse rate, Sc2 2c
  • That humans and other animals have skeletons and muscles to support and protect their bodies and help them to move, Sc2 2e
  • About the effects on the human body of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs and how these relate to personal health, Sc2 2g
  • About the importance of exercise for good health, Sc2 2h
  • That micro-organisms are living organisms that are too small to be seen, and that they may be beneficial (for example, in the breakdown of waste, in making bread) or harmful (for example, in causing disease, in causing food to go mouldy), Sc2 5f

The curriculum at Key Stage 3

There is a range of activities available to support the teaching of three major health-related matters in the KS3 science programme of study for Sc2 l - Life Processes and Living Things.

Learning about growing up and reproduction relates to:

Cells and cell functions

  • That fertilisation in humans and flowering plants is the fusion of a male and a female cell, Sc2 lc

Humans as organisms - Reproduction

  • About the physical and emotional changes that take place during adolescence, Sc2 lf
  • About the human reproductive system, including the menstrual cycle and fertilisation, Sc2 lg
  • How the foetus develops in the uterus, including the role of the placenta, Sc2 lh

Learning about micro-organisms relates to:

Humans as organisms - Health

  • How the growth and reproduction of bacteria and the replication of viruses can affect health, and how the body's natural defences may be enhanced by immunisation and medicines, Sc2 ln

Learning about lifestyle relates to:

Humans as organisms - Nutrition

  • About the need for a balanced diet containing carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins, fibre and water, and about foods that are sources of these,
    Sc2 la

Humans as organisms - Health

  • That the abuse of alcohol, solvents and other drugs affects health, Sc2 lm

The curriculum at Key Stage 4

The programme of study for Science - Sc2 - Life Processes and Living Things - contains content of specific relevance to health education - circulation, breathing, respiration, and inheritance plus two elements dedicated specifically to health. In the programme of study for Sc1 science, students learn how scientific ideas are presented, evaluated and disseminated (for example, by publication, review by other scientists); these practices are of particular relevance to scientific information related to health matters. By adopting a health focus for this work teachers will be able to help young people put their science knowledge into action.

The guidelines for PSHE at Key Stage 4 state that students will 'develop the self-awareness and confidence needed for adult life, further learning and work'... 'develop their ability to weigh up alternative courses of action for health and well-being'... and 'learn to understand and value relationships with a wide range of people and gain the knowledge and skills to seek advice about these and other personal issues'. A key element of the guidance is that concerned with developing a healthy, safer lifestyle.

The guidelines for Citizenship at Key Stage 4 state that students will 'study, think about and discuss topical political, spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues, problems and events... and study the legal, political, religious, social, constitutional and economic systems that influence their lives and communities, looking more closely at how they work and their effects'. As with PSHE, a key element of the guidance is that concerned with developing a healthy, safer lifestyle.

By making links with the science curriculum, PSHE and citizenship teachers will be able to capitalise on students' scientific understanding and raise the level of thought and argument that takes place. This synergy will help students realise the relevance of their science studies.


IVCA Winner: Gold Award for Best Film in Education for 'Puberty & Relationships'

National Curriculum

How Making Sense of Health is compliant with the National Curriculum through Key Stages 1-4 (age 5-16)


What is Making Sense of Health and what topics does it cover?

Support Material

• 9 films on 4 DVDs + bonus material
• Online resource
• media files
• extensive documentation
• over 300 lesson plans and

Contributing to Government Strategy

Contributing to Government Strategy The Making Sense of Health programme has been recommended to be mainstreamed by the 'All Party Parliamentary Group on Primary Care & Public Health'. Read more.

Background & Research

Why was the programme developed and who was involved?


Are you interested in using the Making Sense of Health programme? Please either click here to complete a short contact form, email or call 020 3142 6829.