Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education is a school subject through which pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe, and to prepare them for life and work in modern Britain. Evidence shows that well-delivered PSHE programmes have an impact on both academic and non-academic outcomes for pupils, particularly the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.
The PSHE Association is the national body for Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education. We are a membership organisation for PSHE practitioners and a registered charity.
Our aim is to ensure that every school pupil gets the high-quality PSHE education they deserve. To help us achieve this, we support PSHE practitioners with advice, training and resources, while campaigning for PSHE education to get the same status as other subjects on the curriculum.
Becoming a member gives individuals and schools access to the best of what we have to offer, from quality member-only resources and training to regular policy and practice updates and one-to-one support by phone, email or in person.
Our growing community of PSHE education professionals makes a huge contribution to the quality and status of PSHE nationally - we would really value having you on board.
If you’re not quite ready to become a member then joining our mailing list will give you a flavour of the advice and PSHE news we provide. You will also find a wealth of useful information on this website, including our ‘curriculum’ page and ‘resources’, a selection of which are free for all to access.
CPD training and conferences
We offer a suite of CPD training courses on planning, coordinating and assessing PSHE education as well as preparing for Ofsted and Independent Schools Inspectorate inspections. We can also deliver bespoke training in your school, academy chain or local area.
We also hold conferences on topics of greatest concern to our members. For example, our 2014 annual conference and seminar covered pupil mental health and wellbeing and our 2015 conference focussed on safeguarding pupils through PSHE education.
PSHE Association Chartered Teacher
PSHE teachers gain recognition for their good practice by undertaking our free programme to become a PSHE Association Chartered Teacher. You can find out more about our programmes for experienced teachers and for NQTs.
How do I sign up for membership?
Visit our membership section for an overview of member benefits, types of membership and the online registration form.
Paying by card online gives you instant access to member-only resources and other benefits or you can choose to request and invoice and access will be granted once payment is received.
How do I renew an existing membership?
You will be sent a reminder to renew before your membership is due to expire, or you can log-in at any time and easily renew through the ‘my profile’ page.
What is the difference between individual, concessionary and organisation membership?
We recommend that schools and other organisations sign up for £100 annual organisational membership as it allows all staff to take advantage of our member benefits including access to member-only PSHE resources, regular updates on policy and practice, personalised support and more.
Individual membership are £35 a year and allow one person to access these benefits. A concessionary rate of £15 is available to trainee teachers, newly qualified teachers and teaching assistants for their first year of membership.
Visit our membership section for an overview of member benefits, types of membership and the online registration form.
Does the PSHE Association offer any membership discount for groups of schools?
Yes. Local authorities, academy chains, independent school groups or other collections of schools wishing to sign up together are eligible for reductions in membership fees. Visit our local authority services page for more, or contact us to discuss your requirements.
Section 2.5 of the national curriculum states that all state schools ‘should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice'. Department for Education guidance states that PSHE education is ‘an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education’.
Academies, free schools and independent schools are not bound by the national curriculum. However, PSHE education contributes to schools' statutory duties outlined in the Education Act 2002 and the Academies Act 2010 to provide a balanced and broadly-based curriculum and is essential to Ofsted judgements in relation to personal development, behaviour, welfare and safeguarding. Our Curriculum section outlines these in detail.
You can find out more about the statutory status of the sex and relationships education (SRE) component of PSHE education here.
Is my school required to publish details of our PSHE education curriculum and SRE provision?
As outlined in Schedule 4 of the School Information (England) Regulations 2012), there is a requirement for schools to publish details of their curriculum on their website. In January 2014, the Department for Education updated its timeline of mandatory information for schools, making it clear that a school’s PSHE curriculum should be published under this requirement and contain the same level of detail for PSHE education as for other subjects.
Under the Education Act 1996, all maintained schools are required to have an up to date policy on sex and relationships education (SRE). While this is not required of academies, it is still good practice, and most academies, including primary academies, do have a policy on SRE.
Any SRE delivered is part of the school curriculum and details of it should therefore be published on the school website under Schedule 4 of School Information Regulations 2012.
What policies should my school have in place for PSHE and SRE?
There is no statutory requirement for any school to have a whole-school PSHE education policy, however many schools choose to and we would recommend having a policy for such an important and potentially sensitive subject. Please see our guidance on writing your PSHE education policy.
As outlined above, all maintained state schools must have a policy for sex and relationships education (SRE). Academies and independent schools that teach SRE have to have ‘due regard’ to the DfE statutory guidance on SRE but do not have to have a policy.
For further information visit our curriculum page
How does PSHE contribute to Ofsted and ISI inspections?
PSHE education contributes to Ofsted judgements under section 5 inspections under the 2015 Common Inspections Framework, particularly in the areas of personal development, behaviour and welfare, as well as leadership and management - which includes the effectiveness of safeguarding. Independent schools inspected by the Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) are also required to have schemes of work for PSHE which are ‘implemented effectively’.
For further information on the importance of PSHE to Ofsted inspections read a blog post by Janet Palmer HMI, Ofsted’s lead for the subject, which addresses this issue in detail.
We also provide training for members on preparing for Ofsted and ISI inspections through your school’s PSHE provision. Visit our training page for more details on these courses and other CPD we provide.
Many independent schools recognise the value of a comprehensive PSHE education programme as they want to provide an education that goes beyond academic attainment, and prepares pupils for life’s opportunities and challenges, though of course some independent schools prioritise PSHE more than others. Parents also tend to greatly the value of skills, attributes and knowledge fostered through PSHE education.
The expectations placed on independent schools are also stronger in many ways than expectations on state schools:
To comply with the Independent school Standards Regulations, independent schools must have schemes of work for PSHE education that are implemented effectively (although they don’t have to deliver the scheme of work through a timetabled lesson called PSHE).
Yes. We work closely with a number of local authorities throughout the country to support their schools’ PSHE provision. We can tailor our services to support local educational, public health and safeguarding priorities. We offer bulk membership packages to all schools within an LA, and bespoke guidance, training and support to both school and local authority staff. Find out more about services for local authorities here.
We regularly work with government, corporate and sector partners on a range of projects. These include developing resources or guidance on various PSHE related topics, from mental health and healthy relationships to skills for work such as communication and teamwork. Visit our ‘partnerships’ page to get an idea of our recent work in this area or get in touch to discuss your project or ideas.
We also welcome support from leading organisations for our campaign to make PSHE education statutory on the curriculum. Read more and join our pledge campaign.
If your organisation is developing, or thinking of developing PSHE teaching resources we can provide advice during this development stage with a view to ensuring the completed resource meets standards of best practice and achieves our Quality Mark. Publishers can also submit completed resources for quality assurance.
Resources that achieve our Quality Mark are featured on our site and can be promoted to our community of over 12,000 PSHE practitioners by email and social media. Find out more about our quality assurance process and achieving our Quality Mark.
The PSHE Association regularly publishes comprehensive guidance and resources on anything from teaching about issues related to mental health, to useful tools such as our resource on lesson planning. We also publish regular policy and practice briefings, such as our outline of the contribution PSHE education makes to safeguarding. Visit our curriculum and resources section to access our resources and guidance.
Apart from resources we produce ourselves our resource library contains a select number of resources published by others that have met our quality assurance criteria and achieved our Quality Mark. These can also be found in our resources section or publishers can visit our quality assurance section for more information on obtaining our Quality Mark.
The status of SRE differs across types of schools, as shown in the table below:
In addition to the statutory Department for Education guidance for SRE (2000) referenced in the table above, the Department for Education has formally recognised the supplementary guidance document, produced by the PSHE Association, Brook and the Sex Education Forum in 2014. Schools designing their SRE provision should refer to both the statutory guidance from 2000 and this supplementary guidance.
In any school that provides SRE, parents have the right to withdraw their children from all or part of SRE (excluding learning about reproduction and human development within national curriculum science).
You can find out more about teaching sex and relationships education here.
The PSHE Association Programme of Study for key stages 1-5 was developed in consultation with a wide variety of agencies and practitioners and is based on the needs of today’s pupils and schools.
Our Programme of Study for PSHE education aims to develop skills and attributes such as resilience, self-esteem, risk-management, team working and critical thinking in the context of learning grouped into three core themes: health and wellbeing, relationships and living in the wider world (including economic wellbeing and aspects of careers education).
PSHE education must be relevant and tailored to pupils’ unique needs. It is virtually impossible to create a single curriculum for PSHE education, especially in such a diverse country where the needs and personal circumstances of pupils vary so widely. We expect schools to adapt and edit our Programme of Study to meet both the universal and unique needs of their pupils. It is also important to bear in mind that it is a programme of study and not a scheme of work.
Schools will need to draw on the Programme of Study, taking into account their local data, the curricula for other subjects - such as RE, Citizenship and Science - and the time available, to design schemes of work tailored to their own pupils’ needs.
How many hours of PSHE should be taught per week?
We believe PSHE education should be treated in the same way as any other subject, and should be consistent with the timetabling in individual schools. As a very rough guide, we suggest one hour per week of discrete PSHE education in key stages 1 to 4, as part of a whole school approach with opportunities to enhance the learning through other subjects and events.Should PSHE education be taught as a separate lesson or integrated into other subjects across the curriculum?
We believe that PSHE education should be taught in discrete lessons which then link across to other subjects. Discrete lessons are needed because, while many subjects contribute to pupils’ personal and social development just as all subjects contribute to pupils’ literacy, but there are a number of fundamental problems with attempting to integrate PSHE into the curriculum at the expense of discrete lessons.
It is virtually impossible to achieve continuity and progression from a cross-curricular approach and meaningful assessment can be very difficult. PSHE learning objectives and outcomes can be lost as other subject objectives and outcomes become prioritised.
Our Subject Specialist Nick Boddington notes:
" Our brains work on connections. PSHE education provides a place in the curriculum where pupils can draw their academic learning together, make these connections and apply their skills in the context of a real life situation. Whilst all subjects support literacy, it’s hard to imagine doing away with English lessons in favour of a cross-curricular provision."Can the PSHE Association provide any support with lesson planning?
The PSHE Association has developed a lesson planning tool which offers guidance on in the steps in planning an engaging and effective PSHE education lesson plan. It provides a framework teachers can use to clarify their thinking before they write a detailed session or lesson plan. It highlights the thought process that teachers may find helpful to follow when planning a lesson and developing its objectives. This lesson planning tool is appropriate for teachers in both primary and secondary schools.
We have also developed a teacher’s checklist for PSHE lesson plans, which provides a useful tool for reviewing the quality of lesson plans and for self-evaluation
Can I train to be a PSHE teacher?
There isn’t currently any initial teacher training in PSHE education as a route into PSHE teaching in the same way as someone could train to be a mathematics teacher for instance, though the importance of properly trained and prepared PSHE teachers can’t be underestimated given the complex nature of the issues covered in the PSHE curriculum.
Whilst primary teachers will teach all curriculum subjects, virtually all secondary PSHE education teachers start off with a different subject specialism and have either chosen to move to specialise in PSHE or have been asked by their school to teach it. Whatever the route, training is key, and the PSHE Association offers a wide range of CPD training options, including our highly acclaimed one-day workshops as well as bespoke Inset sessions for staff teams in schools and support by phone or email to Association members.
Are there any qualifications in PSHE teaching?
The PSHE Association offers recognition as a Chartered Teacher of the PSHE Association. This is not an externally accredited qualification but does provides national recognition of best practice in PSHE teaching. It’s aim is to support teachers in having their expertise in teaching PSHE recognised in their own school. This is free to all members of the PSHE Association and is peer assessed in the applicant’s own school.
The National CPD programme is offered by Babcock and accredited through Roehampton University. For details click here - this is a substantial programme and there is a charge for undertaking it.
I've been asked to co-ordinate PSHE education in my school. Where do I start?
Becoming a member of the Association gives you the opportunity to contact our subject specialists for advice and access all of our resources. We have also developed a PSHE leads starter pack listing the key documents you will need to get you started.
Beyond this, a lot depends on what is already in place. If you are inheriting an existing programme, undertaking a comprehensive review using either the PSHE Association’s PSHE education self-review tool (primary and secondary versions) or our Ofsted self-review tool for PSHE education may be helpful.
You should begin by spending time reflecting on what the needs of your pupils are currently and in their future.
PSHE provision should develop essential skills which pupils can apply to a range of situations, and reflect their universal needs (for example drug education) and unique needs (for example local priorities). Regardless of the source, any external programme of study or scheme of work should serve your pupils’ needs and not the other way round. Spend some time talking to local professionals such as school nurses. Talk to your pupils about how they feel about their current PSHE provision.
We also offer several one-day courses. Of particular value to newly appointed PSHE leads we have training for primary and secondary schools on effective leadership and management in PSHE education, on planning your PSHE education programme , which covers effective planning, teaching and assessment. Additionally, our Online CPD Programme resources are free to members of the Association.
We would also recommend consulting the PSHE Association Programme of Study for PSHE education and accompanying guidance.
We have produced a resource on ‘Handling sensitive issues’ which you may find useful. Our subject lead Nick Boddington also offers some advice below:
"Answering this could literally fill a book so these are just points to start you thinking. The first question is ‘sensitive to whom?’, to pupils, to parents, to teachers, to governors? What exactly makes this issue sensitive? Always remember you are part of a school staff so check any relevant policy documents. Talk to colleagues about the issues and explore collectively how you might address them. Think about which children might find this sensitive.
Never start to teach any sensitive issue until you understand the prior learning pupils are bringing to the classroom. It is important to begin by asking questions and considering what they already know, what they almost know, what is misunderstood and what is missing. Techniques such as draw and write or ‘first thoughts’ activities can illuminate pupils’ thinking.
Always establish a safe classroom climate, so agree clear ground rules that protect both the pupils and you as a professional. Consider how you will support a distressed pupil or one you believe to be at risk.
Use a technique to distance the pupils from the issue. ‘Imagine a young person of about your age and who lives round here was experiencing or was worried about…..’ Imagine they asked your advice, what would you say? What if they asked you why they should do as you suggest? ‘Distancing’ can also be achieved through the use of stories, scenarios, film clips, photos and so on. The important thing is that the learners are considering someone else in the situation, or facing the dilemma, rather thinking of themselves in that position, as this allows them to consider the issues in a disassociated, more objective way."
The principles of good PSHE teaching and learning are essentially the same whatever the age, needs and abilities of the learners, although these principles will be adapted differently in every school. As most of those who attend our courses are from mainstream settings, most of the examples used during the courses are from mainstream settings, however there is always the opportunity for discussion around how they would apply in the delegates’ contexts and you would always be in a small group, allowing us to tailor the content to your needs.
The PSHE Association Programme of Study includes a section on key stage 5. Provision of PSHE education at key stage 5 is slightly different than key stages 1-4. In key stages 1 to 4, there is more focus on preparing young people for their future but in key stage 5 young people may be having more direct experience of the issues explored.
Key stage 5 students should be given a stronger voice in determining the areas that you cover based on their needs. Important areas to revisit include relationships and sexual health (especially how to access support services); mental health related topics such as exam stress; alcohol and drugs (from an adult perspective thinking of them as drivers, employees, moving towards forming long-term relationships, parenthood etc.); employability skills – such as communication, resilience and teamwork - as well as more logistical careers-related work such as university or job applications.
You can find comprehensive guidance in the ‘Curriculum’ section of our website, which includes a range of advice, from what to teach in PSHE lessons and how to assess learning, to preparing your PSHE education programme for Ofsted inspections, and teaching about ‘sensitive’ issues. You can also find a list of our key guidance documents here.
If you are a PSHE Association member, contact us here to access one-to-one advice over phone or email from our team of subject specialists.
If you are having trouble finding the information you are looking for, or have any inquiries about the services we provide please get in touch.
We also offer members of the PSHE Association support and advice on all aspects PSHE education over phone and email from our team of subject experts – if you are a member, please call us on 020 7922 7950 or send us an email with your query. You can find out more about membership here.