The DfE are consulting on the future of PSHE education until 12 February and we need you all to get involved. They have committed to statutory ‘relationships education’ in primary schools and relationships and sex education (RSE) in secondary schools but the status of the rest of PSHE is not guaranteed. We therefore need as many of you as possible making the case for the whole subject to be made statutory and are calling for evidence on PSHE (closing in 2 weeks!)
Here are a few key points to consider in your response:
- RSE will be ineffective if the whole of PSHE isn’t granted statutory status at the same time. While making RSE/relationships education compulsory for all pupils from 2019 is a welcome step, it won’t effectively prepare children to maintain safe, healthy relationships in isolation.
- RSE must remain as part of broader PSHE education. This is to guarantee effectiveness but is also easiest for schools to implement, as this is the model already followed by the vast majority of schools offering high quality RSE.
- Improving the status of RSE alone will demote other crucial aspects of PSHE, from mental and physical health to online safety, drugs education to employability and careers, as well as emerging issues such as tackling extremism and fake news.
- Your evidence on the impact of regular, planned PSHE in your school: This is a huge opportunity to achieve statutory status for the whole of PSHE education, involving regular lessons, taught by well trained and supported teachers. Any evidence of the benefits of an effective, timetabled PSHE programme based on your own experiences would be invaluable, as would examples of positive impact on your pupils’ wellbeing, health, behaviour and academic attainment.
- The importance of statutory status for PSHE. PSHE has proven benefits to children and young people’s health (mental and physical), safety (online and offline) and in preparing them for life and work. Many thousands of pupils miss out on these benefits due to it not having the same statutory status as other subjects. Priorities for statutory PSHE are that it should enable regular lessons for all pupils, in all schools, taught by trained and supported teachers.
- Emphasising broad themes, not isolated topics: PSHE cannot and should not be seen as a list of isolated topics that could be prioritised, but as a coherent programme involving interdependent and overlapping themes. In our Programme of Study for PSHE education we express these as ‘health and wellbeing’, ‘relationships’ and ‘living in the wider world’.
- The importance of knowledge, skills and attributes: PSHE education develops the underpinning skills and attributes applicable to all aspects of life – for example resilience, critical thinking skills and managing risk – through the context of subject knowledge in different topic areas
- Core learning with flexibility to tailor: These core themes should form the basis for planning PSHE in all schools, with flexibility for schools to tailor programme content to the needs of their own pupils and communities.
How to submit evidence
Visit our website to read more about how we are responding and visit the Government’s call for evidence page to submit your own response (Note that it is important to use your own words when responding rather than copying and pasting answers from us or others).
Your views and experiences as PSHE professionals are invaluable and will help inform the subject status and content going forward so we greatly appreciate your help.
The PSHE Association Team