Statutory PSHE Guidance in 2020

Statutory PSHE Guidance: Government

New Changes to Statutory PSHE

The updated statutory PSHE guidance comes into effect from September 2020. Therefore, we felt that it would be a beneficial resource to parents and educators to overview these guidelines.

PSHE stands for Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education and is an important part of young people’s education. It teaches them to, not only be positive and responsible citizens within society, but healthy and happy individuals. PSHE supports young people as they prepare for the realities of modern life, exploring topics such as mental health and healthy relationships.

Final statutory guidance was published in March 2019 and regulations were overwhelmingly passed by the Houses of Parliament. Whilst PSHE as a whole is non-statutory, there are key elements that are now statutory. This includes Relationships Education (RE) in the Primary sector, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in Secondary, and Health Education in both the Primary and Secondary Sectors.

At Round Midnight, we welcome these changes. PSHE is an important space where young people can learn about important issues that affect them on a daily basis. It supports them as they progress to young adults, helping them to understand themselves and the world around them. We believe that these statutory requirements signify a newfound focus on the importance of PSHE. These changes are a fundamental step towards ensuring that stellar PSHE lessons are delivered throughout the UK.

Whilst the statutory requirements are still in place from September 2020, if your school is not in a position to implement these changes in their entirety, you now have until Summer Term 2021 to do so. This is because of the unprecedented impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the education sector.

Statutory PSHE Topics

Relationships Education in Primary Schools

The government states that ‘the focus in primary school should be on teaching the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other children and with adults.’

Topics include:

Family: What characterises healthy family life. How families are different and should be respected. Marriage as a formal and legal agreement that is available to both opposite sex and same sex couples.

Friendships: Characteristics of positive friendships that don’t make others feel excluded. Turbulence within friendships and how to manage this.

Relationships: Respecting others even though they may differ physically, in character etc. Using courtesy and manners, Self-Respect, Bullying, Stereotypes and Permission-seeking.

Online Relationships: Awareness that people behave differently online, how to stay safe online, risk involved in online relationships and how data is used online.

Safety: Learn about boundaries in friendships, privacy, how you have ownership over your body, how to recognise and report feelings of being unsafe and where to get advice.

Relationships and Sex Education in Secondary Schools

The government states that ‘the aim of RSE is to give young people the information they need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds, not just intimate relationships.’

Topics include:

Families: There are different kinds of committed stable relationships. Marriage and legal status of other types of long-term relationships. Successful parenting. How to determine trustworthiness of others and seek help and advice when feeling unsafe.

Relationships: What determines a positive and healthy friendship both on and offline. Ending relationships, the understanding that stereotypes can cause damage, how to show respect to others and receive respect back. Alongside this, bullying, criminal behaviour in relationships, behaviour such as sexual harassment and sexual violence, and covering the Equality Act 2010.

Online and Media: Discussion of online risks, difficulty of removing material that goes online, Pornography, and how information and data is shared.

Safe: Matter of consent and withdrawing consent, knowledge of laws related to sexual content, grooming, extremism and radicalisation, criminal exploitation through gang involvement or ‘county lines’ drug operations, among others.

Sexual Relationships: Characteristics of positive relationships, reproductive health, fertility and menopause. Also, sexual pressure, contraceptives, pregnancy, miscarriage, STI’s, alcohol and drugs.

Health Education to both Primary and Secondary Schools

Health education at primary school will cover physical health content like:

  • Basic first aid
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Puberty
  • Benefits of exercise and rest
  • Mental Health: a range of human emotions and how to discuss them.
  • Community Participation

Health education at secondary school:

  • Basic first aid- CPR- life-saving skills
  • Common types of mental health issues
  • Unrealistic expectations for body images shown online
  • Risks associated with alcohol, drugs and tobacco consumption
  • Personal hygiene and dental health

Statutory PSHE Topics and Round Midnight

Our Theatre in Education performances meet the statutory PSHE requirements. For instance, our TIE performance, Straight Talking dispels myths, stereotypes and preconceptions surrounding LGBT+ people and sits in line with Equality Act 2010. Moreover, Keep it Between Us tackles the tricky topic of STI’s and contraception whilst Wrecked explores the dangers of binge drinking. You can read more about the range of Theatre in Education performances we offer here.

Alongside our TIE performances and Virtual_Decisions program, we provide workshops and resources that outline the laws and facts related to the topic matters we discuss. This grounds our performances and discussions in reality, providing memorable information that leaves an impact.

Notable Topics within PSHE

Economic Wellbeing

Currently, economic wellbeing is not a statutory component of PSHE. This includes career planning, enterprise, personal debt and preparing for the world of work. However, many key organisations such as The Bank of England and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education see PSHE as an important space to discuss economic wellbeing.

We believe that economic wellbeing is an important part of PSHE. Our Theatre in Education performance, I Want to Be, supports this aspect of the PSHE curriculum, exploring the importance of school and further education, as well as aspirations and career options. Alongside this, Make it Count, looks at topics such as parliament, democracy and active citizenship. This encourages young people to make positive contributions to a safer and fairer community.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

With the recent pandemic heavily disrupting young peoples’ education and family lives, many are aware of the negative impact this might have on young peoples’ mental health. We are currently researching the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of young people. We have been in virtual discussions with young people and PSHE educators to better understand how we can support them during this time. This research will help us to develop LINK_UP, a digital platform that will use interactive technology to engage young people in discussions around mental wellbeing.

Statutory PSHE Guidance: All elements of PSHE are important

Bespoke PSHE Curriculum

The Department for Education (DfE) states: ‘All elements of PSHE are important and the government continues to recommend PSHE be taught in schools’.  Therefore, the DfE does not believe that non statutory topics are unnecessary but allows teachers to select the topics suitable for their school.

Whilst the practices adopted to teach topics, and how much time is allocated to each topic, is up to each school, PSHE educators must ensure that guidelines are met. There is an expectation that educators understand the value and relevance of PSHE topics and cover topics that are particularly tailored to their students’ needs. It is educators who best understand the requirements of their pupils, and what should be prioritised within a PSHE programme. For instance, if there has been a rise in knife crime within the community, schools are able to prioritise relevant topics in response.

Furthermore, the government encourages schools to use the organisations and resources best suited to their individual needs as long as they ‘facilitate a broad and balanced approach’. This means that educators can both adhere to statutory guidance whilst including engaging and high impact methods of teaching into their curriculum. At Round Midnight, we are here to help schools deliver requirements in a meaningful way through our bespoke Theatre in Education performances and innovative digital solutions.

Statutory PSHE guidance and Parents

With these new guidelines, an important question is raised about the control parents have over what their children learn during PSHE. Parents cannot pull their child out of Relationships Education (taught from primary school upwards). However, parents can withdraw their child from learning about most of the topics covered in Sex Education. The only time when parents will not be able to withdraw children are in areas of Sex Education that form part of the National Curriculum.

What is more, schools must ensure transparency about how they are covering RSE, what topics they will be exploring, and when these topics will be delivered. Schools must publish their policy on how they approach topics online and should share resources that they will be using in lessons. This could include books, leaflets, and videos. Schools must also ensure that they engage and consult with parents.

PSHE across the Curriculum

It is a common thought that to encourage students to become positive contributors to society and happier selves, schools must ensure that PSHE is taught across the curriculum. For example, internet safety and what constitutes a positive online relationship can be discussed in ICT. Furthermore, PE might cover how exercise helps to promote a healthier mind, as well as a healthy body. The Department for Education recommends that PSHE should not just be restricted to the set time within a weekly schedule but seen throughout the school. Ideally, PSHE should become a central part of a school’s ethos and be found in many areas of a student’s experience from assemblies to mentoring schemes, to broader campaigns such as anti-bullying week.

Statutory PSHE and Ofsted

The new Ofsted education inspection framework was put into effect from September 2019. This new framework places a larger emphasis on supporting young people’s personal development. As Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman states, “In the new inspection model, we are particularly interested in how schools contribute to the personal development of children. This area is now a judgement in its own right. This makes more space in inspection for discussing things like the PSHE lessons in which wider life issues can be explored.” How well a school is performing is no longer assessed solely by grades – though this does remain an important assessment criteria – but by how well it supports young people in becoming well-rounded and happy individuals.

PSHE and Round Midnight

Alongside the 2020 statutory guidance and adaptations to the Ofsted inspection framework, there remains an awareness of the importance of using a tailored approach within each school’s individual PSHE curriculum.

We understand that organising your school’s PSHE curriculum is an immense responsibility. It is a responsibility in the sense that you must ensure that your school meets statutory guidance. However, and arguably more importantly, it is a responsibility as you must remain attune to the needs of your students and teach PSHE topics that will enrich their individual lives.

At Round Midnight, we think that a tailored PSHE programme that best supports students should include alternate methods of communication beyond standardised classroom practices. Our highly bespoke Theatre in Education performances and individually tailored creative arts workshops can easily be adapted to your school’s needs, providing a unique experience guaranteed to maximise impact. Please take a look at our website or contact us for more information about how we can help you meet statutory guidance, whilst prioritising the individual needs of your pupils.