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Personal, social, health and economic education in schools (England)

Briefing Paper Number 07303, 1st August 2018

What is PSHE?

The PSHE Association defines personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) as:

…a planned programme of learning through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives, now and in the future.

What provision do schools have to make?

PSHE is a non-statutory subject, but the Government expects all schools to make provision for it.

In September 2013, following an internal review, the Department for Education issued new guidance on PSHE, which makes clear that it is largely up to schools to determine what is taught; it also states that the then Government did not intend to publish new non-statutory programmes of study for PSHE.

The Government provides funding to various bodies, principally the PSHE Association, to support the teaching of PSHE.

Children and Social Work Act 2017: statutory Health Education

In March 2017, the Education Secretary, Justine Greening, announced her intention to put Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) on a statutory footing. She also announced her intention to create a power to make PSHE statutory in future, following further work and consultation.

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 provides for PSHE to be made statutory at all schools in England through regulations. A call for evidence on PSHE teaching ran from December 2017 – February 2018.

In July 2018, the Government announced the introduction of statutory Health Education, alongside the publication of its response to the call for evidence and proposals on RSE. Draft statutory guidance on RSE and Health Education was also published, with a consultation on the guidance open until 7 November 2018.

PSHE Association programme of study

The PSHE Association has published its own programme of study for PSHE, covering Key Stages 1-5.

The programme includes focus on a variety of areas, including diversity and equality, relationships of different kinds, personal financial choices, drugs education, the importance of respecting and protecting the environment, and people’s rights and responsibilities as members of families and other groups, and as citizens.