Key questions on mandatory PSHE requirements for Health Education, Relationships Education and RSE

1. What are the new requirements?

  • The Health Education and Relationships Education (primary) and the secondary Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) aspects of PSHE education will be compulsory in all schools from 2020.
  • PSHE education is already compulsory in independent schools so Health Education won’t be a ‘new’ requirement for them, though independents will be expected to draw on the statutory guidance for Health Education when planning their PSHE education.
  • New statutory guidance outlines what schools must cover – though not everything that schools should cover – in PSHE from 2020. The Department for Education (DfE) says: ‘All elements of PSHE are important and the government continues to recommend PSHE be taught in schools’.
  • ‘Relationships’ and ‘Health and Wellbeing’ are just two of the three core themes of the PSHE Education Programme of Study KS 1 - 5. The third — ‘Living in the Wider World’ — includes economic wellbeing and careers education, and should continue to be prioritised.

 

2. How can schools meet these requirements effectively and efficiently?

  • Schools should be assured that the health and RSE requirements simply outline which parts of  PSHE will be compulsory for all schools.
  • Many schools are well on the way to delivering these commitments. 85% of schools already teach PSHE that covers health and relationships. The new requirements are about a ‘levelling up’ of PSHE standards across all schools.
  • Education secretary Damian Hinds says that schools covering health and relationships education successfully through PSHE should continue to do so.
  • Schools don’t need to unpick what they’re doing well or introduce additional subjects. However, they should avoid ineffective models of delivery such as ‘drop down’/’off timetable’ days.
  • The PSHE Association ‘We’ve got it Covered’ maps the new statutory Health Education, Relationships Education and RSE guidance to the PSHE education Programme of Study. Also see our ‘Preparing for statutory RSE and relationships education’ packs, and the ‘Roadmap to statutory RSE’ produced jointly with the Sex Education Forum.

 

3. What does the new statutory guidance cover?

  • The statutory guidance for Health Education, Relationships Education and RSE covers broad areas of particular relevance and concern to young people today. It should ensure that every child is guaranteed a PSHE education that covers mental health and wellbeing, physical health (including healthy lifestyles and first aid) and learning about safe, healthy relationships, including understanding consent and negotiating life online.
  • Schools should not just ‘teach to the guidance’ however, but see it as the basic requirement which forms part of broader PSHE education.

 

4. So schools should still teach economic wellbeing and careers through PSHE?

  • Yes, the government has not yet made the economic wellbeing and preparation for work strands of PSHE education compulsory but schools should continue to prioritise this area of PSHE education . . .
  • . . . otherwise the ‘personal’ aspects of economic wellbeing will be lost. PSHE complements the financial education covered through Citizenship and Maths, but is the subject through which the personal aspects of economic wellbeing – for example understanding personal debt, positive/negative debt, being entrepreneurial – and careers education are covered.
  • Health, relationships, economic wellbeing and having the knowledge and skills for successful careers are all linked. PSHE is the glue that binds them together. PSHE gathers all of these aspects of preparing for modern life together into a coherent curriculum subject.
  • Although the careers education element of PSHE is not yet statutory, it remains the vehicle through which schools can best ensure they meet many of the Gatsby benchmarks within the careers strategy.
  • And DfE data reflects this, showing that the most common approach to careers education was delivery through PSHE lessons (87%), so schools should not undo what they are doing well in this area.

 

5. Why is all of this so important?

  • PSHE education has proven impact but has suffered from reduced curriculum time and patchy provision. This strengthening of its status can have a major impact on the quality of PSHE in all schools, for all pupils. When delivered well, PSHE has proven benefits to health, wellbeing and academic success. Yet as a non-compulsory subject, curriculum time is often squeezed and quality varies from school to school. These developments mean that all pupils can benefit from an education that keeps them safe, healthy and prepared for the realities of modern life — and this should be celebrated.
  • It recognises the growing momentum behind PSHE for all: The PSHE Association is delighted by these developments given that we have led a campaign for compulsory PSHE for 10 years, supported by 100 leading organisations – including the NSPCC, Barnardo’s, teaching unions – and 92% of parents, 92% of pupils, 88% of teachers.
  • These developments will encourage schools to guarantee curriculum time for this vital subject. PSHE should be taught in regular timetabled lessons, and 91% of school leaders surveyed by NAHT agree.

 

6. What support and training is available/will be available to schools?

  • Our vision for 2020 is that high quality, regular PSHE lessons will be delivered in many more schools, for many more pupils by trained and supported teachers. We are supporting our growing national network of schools to make the most of these changes.
  • As the national body for PSHE education we will work hard to ensure that the PSHE education workforce is ready for 2020. We will continue to develop our range of training, resources and support to help ensure all schools are ‘PSHE ready’ by 2020, and work in partnership with other organisations and unions to support this work.
  • Remember, we’re not starting from scratch but building on some great work from schools across the country. Many schools are doing a great job of delivering high quality PSHE education. We will support them to continue this work, and support other schools to implement PSHE that matches these high standards.
  • Schools can do a lot to prepare now. Our CPD training, member resources, and expert advice will support schools to make the most of these changes.
  • The DfE is also recruiting ‘early adopter’ schools to assess how best to support you in covering these statutory areas of PSHE. We encourage as many PSHE leads and teachers as possible to get involved given the relevance of your skills and experience. According to the DfE, schools that register and are selected to take part will help identify appropriate training and support and be invited to attend a national event this Autumn.
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Join us: www.pshe-association.org.uk/membership


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