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What is PSHE?

The PSHE Association defines personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) as:

  • …a planned programme of learning through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to manage their lives, now and in the future.

What provision do schools currently have to make?

PSHE is a non-statutory subject, but the Government expects all schools to make provision for it.

The Department for Education guidance on PSHE makes clear that it is largely up to schools to determine what is taught, with teachers “best placed to understand the needs of their pupils.”

The Government provides funding to various bodies, principally the PSHE Association, to support the teaching of PSHE.

Statutory Health Education from September 2020

In March 2017, the then Education Secretary, Justine Greening, announced her intention to put Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) on a statutory footing.  She also announced her intention to create a power to make PSHE statutory in future, following further work and consultation.

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 provides for PSHE to be made statutory at all schools in England through regulations. The Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019 provide for statutory health education in schools from September 2020. Schools were encouraged to adopt the new curriculum early, from September 2019.

Guidance on physical health and mental wellbeing education is included as part of the statutory guidance for Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education.

In July 2020 the Department for Education announced that, owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the start of teaching in many schools might in practice be delayed, but that schools should be teaching the new material, at least in part, by summer term 2021.


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