Special Report: PSHE Education

Personal, social, health and economic education has long been championed as key to teaching children essential life skills, and from 2019 all schools will be required to teach relationships and sex education.

An amendment to the Children and Social Work Act 2017 will require all schools to teach relationships and sex education (RSE) from September 2019.

It also paves the way for the introduction of compulsory personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education at some point in the future.

The amendment represented a significant shift in the government's stance on PSHE education - for a number of years, it had resisted calls for the subject to be given statutory status despite mounting evidence of the benefits this would bring.

A host of official inquiries, education experts and children's charities had concluded that compulsory PSHE education offered the best way to ensure children and young people are taught the life skills needed for the 21st century.

PSHE education covers a range of issues, including relationships and sex, digital literacy, risk-taking behaviour, healthy eating, character and social skills, and economic wellbeing.

CYP Now's special report on PSHE education assesses the evidence on the impact that the subject has on young people's opportunities, highlights examples of emerging good practice in schools and by voluntary organisations, and summarises key policy developments.

Policy context

Research evidence:

The Impact of Enhancing Students' Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions

Effective Curriculum-Based Sex and STD/HIV Education Programmes for Adolescents

PSHE Education: A Review of Impact and Effective Practice

A Content Analysis of Youth Internet Safety Programmes: Are Effective Prevention Strategies Being Used?

Practice examples:

ABC (Awareness, Balance, Choice), Dhiverse

Peer educators scheme, Girlguiding

Medway PSHE Project

HENRY, Leeds


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