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Why is PSHE education provision important to schools?
PSHE education makes a major contribution to schools’ contribution to the Every Child Matters (ECM) 5 outcomes for children[i] and to the statutory responsibilities to:
The relationship between PSHE education provision and school ethos is important. An effective school ethos requires:
Why is PSHE education important to children and young people?
PSHE education equips children and young people with knowledge, understanding, attitudes and practical skills to live healthy, safe, productive, fulfilled, capable[iii] and responsible lives. It encourages them to be enterprising and supports them in making effective transitions, positive learning and career choices and in managing their finances effectively. PSHE education also enables children and young people to reflect on and clarify their own values and attitudes, and explore the complex and sometimes conflicting range of values and attitudes they encounter now and in the future.
[i] The ECM outcomes are: be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic wellbeing
[ii] Wellbeing is defined in the Children Act 2004 as the promotion of physical and mental health; emotional wellbeing; social and economic well being; education, training and recreation; recognition of the contribution made by children to society; and protection from harm and neglect. The Education and Inspections Act 2006 places a requirement on schools to promote pupils’ wellbeing as well as their academic achievement.
[iii] Capability refers to a level of awareness of a particular life issue, the development of skills and knowledge associated with it and the willingness to act and to make positive decisions with regard to it. A key concept in economic wellbeing and financial capability, it also applies to personal wellbeing. Capability is essential to social and emotional skills, sex and relationships; drugs and alcohol; economic awareness and enterprise; careers and personal finance. The development of capability requires teaching about the interrelationship between topics so that learning in school echoes the reality of experience in life.
April 2010: PSHE education and statutory status
Wash-up negotiations between the government and opposition parties on the Children, Schools and Families Bill resulted in the removal of the clauses to introduce PSHE education as a statutory subject in the national curriculum at primary and secondary level. These negations also removed the clause that would have made statutory the new primary curriculum.
Implications for curriculum work in primary and secondary schools:
The current legal requirements remain in force.
The new legislation would have brought coherence to a complex statutory situation. However, it is important that schools remember that it is the frameworks and programmes of study (PoS) for PSHE education that are non-statutory, not all of their content. Some of the content of the PoS and frameworks are statutory.
The new primary curriculum will not become law and the current legal requirements (implemented in 2000) for the primary curriculum remain in force.
Schools are, of course, free to review the curriculum they currently offer as part of a process of continuous improvement and may find the new curriculum documents useful in doing this. The current law does not dictate the way in which the curriculum should be organised.
Schools should keep all the new curriculum documents and guidance materials they have received until the election outcome is known and intentions of the next government are made clear.
In the mean time schools are reminded that PSHE education remains part of the non- statutory framework for PSHE and citizenship at key stages 1 and 2. Elements of sex and drug education remain within the science curriculum.
Secondary schools The secondary curriculum remains as introduced in September 2008. The programmes of study for PSHE education at key stages 3 and 4 themselves remain non-statutory but schools should remember that aspects of them are already statutory for example:
Schools are required to have policies in relation to a range of issues and behaviours including sex education, safeguarding, bullying, equal opportunities, racism and discrimination. The knowledge and understanding, skills, values and attitudes relating to the behaviours required to implement these policies are developed through PSHE education. There are over-arching statutory requirements that would be difficult to meet without PSHE education. The new legislation would have brought coherence to an extremely complex statutory situation which is as follows:
Whole school requirements that need PSHE education provision:
Section 351 of the Education Act (1996) requires a maintained school to provide a balanced and broadly based curriculum which:
Every Child Matters requires schools to contribute to five outcomes for all children including helping them to understand how to:
The statutory aims of the national curriculum require all secondary schools to provide a curriculum that enables all young people to become:
The existing 2002 statutory aims for the curriculum still apply for all primary schools.
Schools must promote children and young people’s wellbeing. (Wellbeing is defined in the Children Act 2004 as the promotion of physical and mental health; emotional wellbeing; social and economic well being; education, training and recreation; recognition of the contribution made by children to society; and protection from harm and neglect.)
The Ofsted Evaluation Framework (September 2009) includes in the descriptions for ‘outstanding schools’ the following:
Inspectors will need to be offered evidence that demonstrates:
Statutory and other guidance – PSHE Association summary document
The PSHE Association has produced a resource that summarises the existing range of government guidance related to PSHE education and helps practitioners identify and make use of the comprehensive guidance resources that support effective planning and delivery of PSHE education.
Keep checking the PSHE Association website for more briefings and resources to help you to plan, review, coordinate and deliver PSHE education.