Relationships and sex education (RSE) should always be delivered as part of a planned, developmental PSHE education programme. The Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) aspect of PSHE education will be compulsory in all secondary schools from 2020, and 'Relationships Education' compulsory in all primary schools.
Statutory guidance for Relationships, RSE and Health education was published in June 2019 and will replace existing statutory SRE guidance from 2000. This new guidance outlines what schools must cover – though not everything that schools should cover – in PSHE from 2020, and schools are beginning to update their provision accordingly. Schools are encouraged to adopt the new curriculum early from September 2019.
In the meantime the status of RSE differs across types of schools as follows:
In addition to the statutory Department for Education guidance for SRE (2000) referenced in the table above, the Department for Education has formally recognised the supplementary guidance document, produced by the PSHE Association, Brook and the Sex Education Forum in 2014.
Currently, in any school that provides SRE/RSE, parents have the right to withdraw their children from all or part of SRE (excluding learning about reproduction and human development within national curriculum science).
You can find out more about teaching RSE here.
There isn’t dedicated initial teacher training in PSHE education as a route into PSHE teaching in the same way as someone could train to be a mathematics teacher for instance.
Whilst primary teachers will teach all curriculum subjects including PSHE education, virtually all secondary PSHE education teachers will have trained in a different subject specialism and have either chosen to move to specialise in PSHE or have been asked by their school to teach it. Whatever the route, training is key, and the PSHE Association offers a wide range of CPD training options, including our highly acclaimed one-day workshops as well as bespoke Inset sessions for staff teams in schools and support by phone or email to Association members. Those new to the PSHE lead role are advised to attend our ‘Effective leadership and management of PSHE education’ course (or if completely new to PSHE education, then start with ‘Understanding PSHE education’ for a thorough grounding in best practice.
I've been asked to co-ordinate PSHE education in my school. Where do I start?
Becoming a member of the Association gives you the opportunity to contact our subject specialists for advice and access all of our resources. We have also developed a PSHE leads’ starter pack listing the key documents you will need to get you started.
Beyond this, a lot depends on what is already in place. If you are inheriting an existing programme, undertaking a comprehensive review using either the PSHE Association’s PSHE education self-review tool (primary and secondary versions) or our Ofsted self-review tool for PSHE education may be helpful. You should begin by reflecting on what your pupils might need now, and in their futures.
PSHE provision should develop essential skills which pupils can apply to a range of situations, and which reflect their universal needs (for example drug education) and specific needs (for example local priorities). Regardless of the source, any external programme of study or scheme of work should serve your pupils’ needs and not the other way round. Spend some time talking to local professionals such as school nurses. Talk to your pupils about how they feel about their current PSHE provision.
When designing your provision, be wary of any programme or approach that promises to solve all your needs ‘off-the-shelf’. Even the most detailed example will need tailoring to your pupils’ needs.
We would also recommend consulting the PSHE Association Programme of Study for PSHE education and accompanying guidance.
The PSHE Association Programme of Study (key stages 1–5) is the most common framework for structuring PSHE education, and is regularly signposted by Department for Education.
Our Programme of Study is grouped into three core themes: health and wellbeing, relationships and living in the wider world (including economic wellbeing and aspects of careers education).
It is impossible and impractical to create a single curriculum for PSHE education, especially in such a diverse country where the needs and personal circumstances of pupils vary so widely. We therefore expect schools to adapt and edit our Programme of Study to meet both universal needs and the unique needs of their pupils. It is also important to bear in mind that it is a programme of study and not a scheme of work (for year by year detail, see our planning toolkits for primary and secondary PSHE education).
Our mapping guide shows how the Programme of Study covers – and goes beyond – the statutory Health Education, Relationships Education and RSE guidance which will come into effect from 2020.
The PSHE Association Programme of Study includes a section on key stage 5. Provision of PSHE education at key stage 5 is slightly different than key stages 1-4. In key stages 1 to 4, there is more focus on preparing young people for their future but in key stage 5 young people may have more direct experience of the issues explored.
Key stage 5 students should be given a stronger voice in determining the areas that are covered based on their needs. Important areas to revisit include relationships and sexual health (especially how to access support services); mental health related topics such as exam stress; alcohol and drugs (from an adult perspective, thinking of them as drivers, employees, moving towards forming long-term relationships, parenthood etc.); employability skills – such as communication, resilience and teamwork - as well as more logistical careers-related work such as university or job applications.
Becoming a member gives individuals and schools access to the best of what we have to offer, from quality member-only resources and training, to regular policy and practice updates and one-to-one support by phone, email or in person.
Our growing community of PSHE education professionals makes a huge contribution to the quality and status of PSHE nationally – we would really value having you on board.
If you’re not quite ready to become a member then joining our mailing list will give you a flavour of the advice and PSHE news we provide. You will also find a wealth of useful information on this website, including our ‘curriculum’ page and ‘resources’, a selection of which are free for all to access.
CPD training and conferences
We offer a suite of CPD training courses on planning, coordinating and assessing PSHE education as well as preparing for statutory Health Education, Relationships Education/RSE as well as Ofsted and Independent Schools Inspectorate inspections. We also run courses on specific aspects of PSHE such as mental health, challenging extremism and online safety. Besides our calendar courses we can deliver school-based training to groups of schools, academy chains and local authorities.
We also hold national conferences on the latest policy and practice developments, including areas of greatest concern to our members. Our annual conferences have in the past, for example, covered topics such as pupil mental health and safeguarding pupils through PSHE education.
The PSHE Association is the national body for PSHE education. We are a membership organisation for PSHE practitioners and a registered charity. Our aim is to ensure that every school pupil gets the high-quality PSHE education they deserve. To help us achieve this, we support over 30,000 PSHE practitioners nationally with advice, training and resources.
The Association has led campaigns for PSHE education to get the same (statutory) status on the curriculum as other subjects, and achieved significant success with the government decision to make Health Education, Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education compulsory in schools from 2020.
Yes. We work closely with many local authorities and academy trusts, networks and other groups throughout the country to support their schools’ PSHE provision. We can tailor our services to support local educational, public health and safeguarding priorities. We offer bulk membership packages to all schools within a local authority or academy trust, and bespoke guidance, training and support to groups of schools or LA/trust staff.
All schools are currently expected to provided PSHE education on the curriculum and this expectation will be strengthened from 2020 when the health education and relationships education (primary) / relationships and sex education (secondary) aspects become compulsory in all schools.
PSHE education is currently a non-statutory subject on the school curriculum in maintained schools and academies, though section 2.5 of the national curriculum states that all state schools ‘should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice'. The Department for Education (DfE) consider PSHE education ‘an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education and the vast majority of schools have some kind of PSHE provision. PSHE education is compulsory in independent schools.
From 2020, the majority of PSHE education will be compulsory in all schools.
This change in status results from government amendments to the 2017 Children and Social Work Act, which committed to compulsory ‘relationships education’ in all primary schools and ‘relationships and sex education (RSE)’ in all secondary schools, and consideration of the status of broader PSHE in order to improve consistency of provision across all schools.
Following a call-for-evidence on the nature of these proposals, then Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced in July 2018 that the health (physical and mental) aspect of PSHE would also be compulsory in schools from 2020. Draft was published at the same time for consultation and in June 2019, the Department for Education launched the final statutory guidance to accompany the introduction of compulsory health education, relationships education and relationships and sex education (RSE) in 2020. This means that the ‘Relationships’ and ‘Health and Wellbeing’ core themes of the PSHE Association Programme of Study for PSHE education will be compulsory.
The third core theme of the PSHE Programme of Study — ‘Living in the Wider World’ — concerns economic wellbeing and careers. Though not yet compulsory in entirety, the new statutory requirements do include elements of this theme such as awareness of online gambling and scams.
Schools are strongly encouraged to offer a coherent PSHE programme that fully covers all three themes – Relationships; Health; Living in the Wider World – tailored to the needs of their students and communities. Our ‘We’ve got it covered’ guide maps new statutory guidance to the PSHE Programme of Study, while illustrating the important PSHE areas that are a necessary – if not yet compulsory – part of any school’s PSHE education offer.
What policies should my school have in place for PSHE and SRE/RSE?
There is no statutory requirement for any school to have a whole-school PSHE education policy, however many schools choose to and we would recommend having a policy for such an important and potentially sensitive subject. Please see our guidance on creating your PSHE education policy.
All maintained state schools must have a policy for sex and relationships education (SRE). Academies and independent schools that teach SRE have to have ‘due regard’ to the DfE statutory guidance on SRE but do not have to have a policy. When relationships education and RSE become statutory in September 2020, all schools will, however, have to have a policy, under the Children and Social Work Act 2017. PSHE Association members are able to access our guidance on writing your RSE policy.
For further information visit our curriculum page
How do I sign up for membership?
Visit our membership section for an overview of member benefits, types of membership and the online registration form. We are adding new resources and features all the time so don’t miss out on what we have to offer.
Paying by card online gives you instant access to member-only resources and other benefits or you can choose to request and invoice and access will be granted as soon as payment is received.
How do I renew an existing membership?
You will be sent a reminder to renew before your membership is due to expire, or you can log-in at any time and easily renew through the ‘my profile’ page. If you have any problems with your renewal then feel free to call us on 020 7922 7950 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the difference between individual, concessionary and organisation membership?
Schools and other organisations should sign up for £125 annual organisational membership as it allows all staff to take advantage of our member benefits including access to member-only PSHE resources, regular updates on policy and practice, personalised support and more.
Individual memberships are £50 a year and allow one person to access these benefits. A concessionary rate of £20 is available to trainee teachers, newly qualified teachers and teaching assistants for their first year of membership.
Does the PSHE Association offer any membership discount for groups of schools?
Yes. Local authorities, academy chains, independent school groups or other collections of schools wishing to sign up together are eligible for reductions in membership fees. Visit our local authority services page for more, or contact us to discuss your requirements.
The PSHE Association regularly publishes comprehensive guidance and resources on anything from teaching about issues related to mental health, to useful tools such as our planning toolkits for primary and secondary PSHE education. We also publish regular updates with the latest policy and practice news. Visit our curriculum and resources section to access our resources and guidance.
Besides resources we produce ourselves, our resource library contains a number of resources published by others that have met our quality assurance criteria and achieved our Quality Mark. These can also be found in our resources section or publishers can visit our quality assurance section for more information on obtaining our Quality Mark.
If your organisation is developing, or thinking of developing PSHE teaching resources, we may be able to provide advice during this development stage with a view to ensuring the completed resource meets standards of best practice and achieves our Quality Mark. Publishers can also submit completed resources for quality assurance.
Resources that achieve our Quality Mark are featured on our site and can be promoted to our community of over 29,000 PSHE practitioners by email and social media.
How many hours of PSHE should be taught per week?
PSHE education should be treated and timetabled in the same way as any other subject. As a rough guide, we suggest one hour per week of discrete PSHE education in key stages 1 to 4, as part of a whole school, approach with opportunities to enhance the learning through other subjects and events.
Should PSHE education be taught as a separate lesson or integrated into other subjects across the curriculum?
PSHE education should be taught in discrete lessons. While many subjects contribute to pupils’ personal and social development – just as all subjects contribute to pupils’ literacy – there are a number of fundamental problems with attempting to integrate PSHE into other subjects on the curriculum at the expense of discrete lessons.
It is not possible to achieve continuity, progression and meaningful assessment from a cross-curricular approach. PSHE learning objectives and outcomes can be lost as other subject objectives and outcomes become prioritised.
The 2019 statutory Health Education, Relationships Education and RSE guidance also states that:
Schools should have the same high expectations of the quality of pupils’ work in these subjects as for other curriculum areas. A strong curriculum will build on the knowledge pupils have previously acquired, including in other subjects, with regular feedback provided on pupil progress.This would be very difficult to achieve without dedicated, discrete PSHE lessons.
Please also see our guidance on delivery models for PSHE education.
We have produced a resource on ‘Handling complex issues safely in the PSHE education classroom’ which you may find useful for any PSHE subject area. This covers key principles such as the importance of setting ground rules, creating a safe classroom environment, distancing techniques and understanding pupils’ prior learning.
The principles of good PSHE teaching and learning are essentially the same whatever the age, needs and abilities of the learners, although these principles will be adapted differently in every school. As most of those who attend our courses are from mainstream settings, most of the examples used during the courses are from mainstream settings, however there is always the opportunity for discussion around how they would apply in the delegates’ contexts and you would always be in a small group, allowing us to tailor the content to your needs.
Whilst welcome at any of our training courses, we recommend that teachers in special schools also attend our 'Effective PSHE in Special Education Provision' course. Visit our events section to see when this is next running or get in touch.
If you are having trouble finding the information you are looking for, or have any inquiries about the services we provide please get in touch.
We also offer members of the PSHE Association support and advice on all aspects PSHE education over phone and email from our team of subject experts – if you are a member, please call us on 020 7922 7950 or send us an email with your query. You can find out more about membership here.
Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education is a non-statutory curriculum subject which develops the knowledge, skills and attributes all pupils need in order to keep healthy and safe and to prepare them for life and work in modern Britain.
PSHE education provides a framework though which such key skills, attributes and knowledge can be developed and applied to some of the most pressing issues facing young people today: from mental health to understanding the importance of staying safe online, healthy and safe relationships, making sense of media messages, challenging extreme views and having the skills and attributes to negotiate a potentially volatile labour market. Evidence shows that well-delivered PSHE programmes have an impact on both academic attainment and non-academic outcomes for pupils, particularly the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.
The PSHE Association programme of study for key stages 1–5 covers three core themes – ‘health and wellbeing’, ‘relationships’ and ‘living in the wider world’ and provides further information on the subject’s scope.
You can find comprehensive guidance in the ‘Curriculum’ section of our website, which includes a range of advice, from what to teach in PSHE lessons and how to assess learning, to preparing your PSHE education programme for Ofsted inspections, and teaching about ‘sensitive’ issues. You can also find a list of our key guidance documents here.
If you are a PSHE Association member, contact us here to access one-to-one advice over phone or email from our team of subject specialists. We also run training courses which cover planning and assessment in greater detail.
PSHE education is compulsory in independent schools, and valued for its contribution to an education that goes beyond academic attainment, and for prepares pupils for life’s opportunities and challenges.
To comply with the Independent school Standards Regulations, independent schools must have schemes of work for PSHE education that are implemented effectively (although they don’t have to deliver the scheme of work through a timetabled lesson called PSHE).
Independent schools will also be expected to comply with the statutory guidance for Relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education from September 2020.
Independent schools inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) are required to have schemes of work for PSHE which reflect the aims and ethos of the school and that are ‘implemented effectively’. These have to be available via the school website or submitted to ISI prior to an inspection.
The new Ofsted education inspection framework will be in effect from September 2019. There is more scope for PSHE education to be a focus of inspections under this new framework in providing evidence for key judgements, particularly ‘personal development’.
Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman said that "In the new inspection model, we are particularly interested in how schools contribute to the personal development of children. This area is now a judgement in its own right. This makes more space in inspection for discussing things like the PSHE lessons in which wider life issues can be explored."
PSHE education also makes a unique contribution to safeguarding; helping schools to fulfil their statutory duty to teach pupils to keep themselves safe. See ’Keeping children safe in education’ statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding.
PSHE education also contributes to general school standards and Ofsted’s 2013 report on PSHE emphasised that schools judged as outstanding almost always have outstanding PSHE education.
We also provide training for members on preparing for Ofsted and ISI inspections through your school’s PSHE provision. Visit our training page for more details on these courses and other CPD we provide.
Yes – we have developed a lesson planning tool to help build an engaging and effective PSHE education lesson plan. It highlights steps to follow when planning a lesson and developing its objectives.
Our teacher’s checklist for PSHE lesson plans will help teachers review the quality of lesson plans and support self-evaluation.Whilst quality assured lesson plans are available for a number of topic areas within PSHE education, we would always recommend planning your own lessons for your own pupils where possible. Where quality assured ‘ready-made’ lesson plans are used, always ensure they are tailored and adapted to meet your pupils’ needs.