The theme of our June 23rd annual conference was the impact of well
delivered PSHE education on the lives of young people. Schools Minister
Nick Gibb lent a message of support
, saying that “I
am delighted to support the PSHE Association’s conference ‘Making a
Difference’ and I hope that participants have an interesting and
We thank everyone who attended and supported us for helping to make
it a success. We’ve got a full report from the day below. There are also
slides from main presentations and our latest briefing, resulting from
Dr. John Lloyd's presentation: 'PSHE education, having an impact and making a difference'
(also available as a downloadable document below).
PSHE Association annual national conference. 23rd June 2011
What a wonderful setting in the Glaziers Hall on the banks of the
Thames. We were surrounded by beautiful crystal chandeliers and stained
glass windows showing craftsmanship at its best from times when the
guilds and trades were at their strongest.
The day began with a message of support to the conference from Nick
Gibb, the Schools Minister. In it he spoke of the benefits of high
quality PSHE education.
Mick Waters delivered the key note speech. The main focus of this was
on policy and the difference it can make to the young people that it
serves. Mick posed the question, ‘how can we measure the success of a
subject the benefits of which we will not see until later in life?’
Politicians need to know this: our contribution to adult behaviour will
stem from that person’s experience in a PSHE lesson in school- how to
drink alcohol within safe limits, how to say ‘not for me thank you’ when
offered substances, and the importance of healthy eating for example.
He drew a very good analogy with a tree; the roots being the foundation -
creating successful learners, confident individuals and responsible
individuals, the trunk being the quality of learning, the branches being
knowledge, and the leaves being the different subjects. He sees high
quality PSHE education unequivocally as being the bedrock of the best
learning in schools. This was a theme was returned to throughout the day
by speakers and delegates.
Brenda Landers, Head Teacher of outstanding Swanlea school, gave us an
inspirational account of how she achieved such high academic attainment
in an area of huge deprivation. Again PSHE is the bedrock upon which
everything else rests - the ethos of the school is closely connected to
the main tenets of high quality PSHE education. She explained that the
impact of PSHE on attitudes, behaviour, and learning skills is firmly
linked to the school’s improvement. She made the point that although
they serve a very conservative community, it is vitally important to
talk to young people about the issues they face. As she put it: ‘who
will talk to our youngsters if we don’t?’
Mike Coldwell gave us an excellent account of the research into
prevalent models of PSHE delivery carried out at Sheffield Hallam
University. He outlined findings related to successful approaches to
PSHE, the importance of coherent progression in a planned programme, the
relevance of core curriculum time and the all important link between
life skills and pupil learning. This was to be a key feature of the day
– how good quality PSHE education informs and contributes to high
academic achievement. You can find the report at http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DFE-RR080.pdf
Mike was followed by Jackie Behan from the TDA (Training and Development
Agency). Jackie spoke of the contribution that PSHE makes to behaviour
and discipline. She emphasised the centrality of relationships,
resilience and inclusion, qualities that are developed through PSHE.
Again, Jackie drew our attention to evidence to show how effective good
quality PSHE education can be.
This was a theme further developed by John Lloyd, Policy Adviser at the
PSHE Association who showed us how PSHE education does make a
difference. He drew attention to evidence of the impact of PSHE on
pupils’ learning and attitudes and how it helps young people make
decisions about drugs and alcohol. Statistics from pfeg and RBS
illustrated the success of financial education in helping young people
plan for their future.
John also emphasised that the CBI is looking for the very qualities that
PSHE promotes – resilience, resistance to bullying, the ability to form
strong relationships, work as part of a team, take control of our own
lives and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Having had a fabulous lunch in the beautiful River Room overlooking the
Thames, we went off to our different workshops which ranged from
‘Addressing bullying’ to ‘Money on our minds’.
Jan Campbell then engaged and entertained us with a wonderful summary of
the day. For those of us who don’t yet know, she was awarded an OBE in
the Birthday Honours list for her contribution to education and in
particular for her achievement in establishing the PSHE Association.
She urged members to become active members and to engage with their
association, respond to discussion points, contribute ideas and share
Picking up on John Lloyd’s presentation and comments by contributors
throughout the day, she spoke about the impact of PSHE education and the
need for still more evidence to substantiate the positive effect of our
subject on academic attainment and the future health of our young
people. She made a specific request that if anyone does have further
evidence to contribute to the growing evidence base, they should send it
We ended the day with a panel of speakers taking questions from the audience. A lively and interesting discussion ensued.
Quotes from participants:
“What an exciting and varied group of speakers”
“Really interested in considering, gathering evidence of the impact of
PSHE...would be keen to be involved in working on this and may have
contacts in schools who would also be keen.”
“Very Useful Context. Will feedback to Healthy Schools colleagues and
will use learning to input into schemes of work and resource
“Extremely useful as a networking opportunity. Liked time for discussion after each presentation”
Presentations in order of appearance:
Prof. Mick Waters, Curriculum Foundation: Key note presentation on ‘making a difference’.
We’ve included a .pdf of Mick’s slides below. Some of you who attended
the conference enquired about the tree model Mick referred to. This tool
is available free from the Curriculum Foundation home-page: http://www.curriculumfoundation.org/
Brenda Landers, Head Teacher, Swanlea School: ‘Making a difference in your school’.
Slides available below
Mike Coldwell, Sheffield Hallam University: ‘PSHE Education provision
– learning from the DCSF/DfE PSHE Education Mapping Study’.
Slides available below.
Jackie Behan, Training and Development Agency: ‘The contribution of PSHE education to behavior and discipline’.
Slides available below.
Dr John Lloyd, PSHE Association ‘PSHE Education: the evidence for impact’.
Slides available below and new briefing paper based on John’s presentation available here
Jan Campbell OBE, trustee PSHE Association: ‘The Future: continuing to make a difference’.
Jan summed up the day, reflecting on the presentations and workshops
that came earlier. She spoke about the future for PSHE education, the
importance of being an active PSHE Association member and the
Association’s involvement in the upcoming internal review of the