Why PSHE matters
PSHE education gives pupils the knowledge, skills, and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe and to prepare them for life and work in modern Britain.
Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education is a school subject through which pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage their lives, now and in the future.
These skills and attributes help pupils to stay healthy, safe and prepare them for life and work in modern Britain. When taught well, PSHE education helps pupils to achieve their academic potential, and leave school equipped with skills they will need throughout later life.
Our landmark 'curriculum for life' report outlines evidence of the subject's impact.
Why is PSHE education important to pupils?
PSHE education helps pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society. From making responsible decisions about alcohol to succeeding in their first job, PSHE education helps pupils to manage many of the most critical opportunities, challenges and responsibilities they will face growing up.
Pupils agree that PSHE education is a vital part of their preparation for life, with 92% of those who have been taught the subject believing all young people should receive high-quality PSHE lessons.
In 2015, the UK Youth Parliament made 'A Curriculum which prepares us for Life' a top priority, based on a consultation of almost a million young people. This was the third year in a row that PSHE education has been voted a priority by young people. PSHE education is supported by leading youth bodies such as Girlguiding and the British Youth Council.
Why is PSHE education important to schools?
While schools are not required to teach PSHE education, the subject makes a crucial contribution to schools' duties. The Education Act 2002 requires all schools to teach a curriculum that is "broadly based, balanced and meets the needs of pupils". Schools must "promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and prepare pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life" while having a duty to keep pupils safe.
Our Curriculum section outlines in detail how PSHE education helps schools fulfil their statutory responsibilities, and how high-quality PSHE education contributes to success in Ofsted inspections.
A growing body of research shows that pupils who are emotionally healthy do better at school. PSHE education helps children and young people to achieve their potential by supporting their wellbeing and tackling issues that can affect their ability to learn, such as anxiety and unhealthy relationships. PSHE education also helps pupils to develop skills and aptitudes - like teamwork, communication, and resilience - that are crucial to navigating the challenges and opportunities of the modern world, and are increasingly valued by employers.
Why is PSHE education important to parents?
An overwhelming majority of parents support the view that schools should prepare children for life and work, not just for exams. 90% of parents say that all schools should teach PSHE education according to 2015 YouGov polling commissioned by the PSHE Association and the subject is supported by leading parent bodies including Mumsnet, PTA UK and the National Governors Association.
We believe that parents welcome a partnership between home and schools which supports their children’s personal and social development, and help deal with issues of increasing complexity such as those related to mental health and staying safe, both online and offline.
While there is consensus among parents, governors and parent-teacher associations about the need for PSHE education, it is understandable that parents will want to ensure that a school’s programme is appropriate for their children. It is therefore important that parents are involved when a school’s PSHE curriculum is being developed. Schools also have a duty to publish their PSHE curriculum details on their website.
- Read our landmark report 'A curriculum for life: the case for statutory PSHE'
- Find out more about the status of PSHE education in the curriculum
- Read our briefing for governors explaining the benefits of PSHE education
- Read our Chief Executive Joe's blog calling for parent-school partnership in the delivery of PSHE education