Personal, social and health education (PSHE) includes relationships and sex education and drug education (including alcohol, tobacco and volatile substance abuse). It provides pupils with the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes to make informed decisions about their lives.
PSHE education is central to helping pupils to stay healthy and safe and to equipping them with the personal and social skills to negotiate life’s challenges, opportunities and risks. There is also growing evidence to suggest that the skills and attributes acquired through PSHE education have a significant impact on pupils’ academic achievement, employability and future life chances. The National Curriculum in England: framework for key stages 1-4 (link opens in a new tab or window) states;
All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice.
Department for Education, Updated July 2014
Under the Education Act 2002/Academies Act 2010 all schools must provide a balanced and broadly-based curriculum which:
- promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
- prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
The 2006 Education and Inspections Act placed a duty on Governing Bodies ‘to promote the well-being of pupils at the school’. The duty came into effect in September 2007. Since that date, an equivalent requirement has been placed on new academies through their funding agreements.
Schools also have wider responsibilities under the Equalities Act 2010 and should ensure that their school strives to do the best for all pupils, irrespective of disability, educational needs, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, maternity, religion or sexual orientation or whether they are looked after children. In Sept 2013, the DfE published its advice to schools after a review of PSHE education in which it stated:
PSHE remains an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education. We believe that all schools should teach PSHE, drawing on good practice, and have outlined this expectation in the introduction to the new National Curriculum.
[Written Ministerial Statement: Review of Personal, Social, Health and Economic education, March 2013]
The latest statement from the Government regarding PSHE Education (Feb, 2016) emphasises its ‘crucial’ role and the need for senior leaders to ensure that it has time in the curriculum, status, ‘well-trained’ and ‘well-supported’ staff.
- Departmental advice on the teaching of personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) in England (link opens in a new tab or window)
- Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education: a review of impact and effective practice (DfE, March 2015)
Useful links and websites
This website primarily provides information linked to health and wellbeing in schools. The links and resources below address some of the additional aspects and breadth of PSHE beyond the scope of this website.
- Creating and reviewing your PSHE policy (link opens in a new tab or window)
Teaching and learning
- Ten principles of good PSHE (link opens in a new tab or window)
- Assessing PSHE (link opens in a new tab or window)
- Special Educational Needs (link opens in a new tab or window)
- Current curriculum guidelines (link opens in a new tab or window)
- PSHE Association programme of study and curriculum guidance (link opens in a new tab or window)