Our annual conference yesterday brought almost 200 colleagues from across the county together to share practice on the crucial issue of pupil emotional wellbeing and mental health.
We also announced results of a survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of the PSHE Association, showing that 90% of parents believe schools should teach children and young people about mental health and emotional wellbeing alongside traditional subjects like maths and science.
Our conference addressed key issues related to emotional wellbeing and mental health and provided practical workshops alongside keynote speeches from Education Minister Lord Nash and Janet Palmer HMI, Ofted lead for PSHE education.
Lord Nash reiterated that all schools have a duty to promote pupil’s spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development and are inspected accordingly. He said that PSHE education “plays a vital role” in helping schools fulfil this duty through a broad and balanced curriculum.
He went on to stress that good schools recognise the ”hugely important job” PSHE practitioners do and ensure they have the support and training to do the job well. He then highlighted PSHE’s positive effect on academic achievement, saying that “schools with good results invariably have good PSHE provision.”
The Minister also recognised new challenges - many related to sex and relationships and online safety – and how important it was that PSHE teachers felt well equipped to support pupils with them. He also explained how attributes such as pupil resilience and character are important to future success in the world of work.
Janet Palmer focussed on the duty every school has to safeguard pupils and the importance of PSHE education to helping pupil’s protect themselves from problems such as drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, child sexual exploitation and extremism. Janet's presentation slides are below and please also read her related blog piece.
Chief Executive Joe Hayman stressed that the importance and value of PSHE education – and those who deliver it – to children and young people never changes, irrespective of its status on the curriculum. He said that while the Association remains disappointed by the Department of Education’s position on the subject , the event brought members of the PSHE community together to share ideas, good practice and build relationships – and this is what will support us most to improve the subject nationally during the period ahead. Joe said that the Association is working hard to equip practitioners with evidence to make the case for the subject, including our new briefing linking PSHE with improved academic success.
Our Training and Development lead, Jenny Barksfield, led a productive session on establishing a safer teaching and learning environment in the PSHE classroom before delegates went to workshops on a range of topics including healthy relationships, resilience, positive body image and online safety. Jane Hyland of the Association's Advisory Council then ran an exercise in the afternoon to establish how we can best support members in the year ahead.
Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed for making it such a positive event.
- Janet Palmer's slides are available below and we'll be uploading clips of all keynotes and additional information during the coming days as well as contacting delegates with key presentations and materials from the event.
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