Personal, Social and Health Education

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Personal, social, health and economic (PSHCE) education has in various forms been part of the National Curriculum for schools in UK since 2000. Some aspects, but not all, have been compulsory. PSHE education is defined by the schools inspectorate Ofsted as a planned programme to help children and young people develop fully as individuals and as members of families and social and economic communities. Its goal is to equip young people with the knowledge, understanding, attitudes and practical skills to live healthily, safely, productively and responsibly.[1]

In Wales, the comparable element of the state school curriculum topic is Personal and Social Education (PSE). In Ireland, it is Social, Personal and Health education (SPHE). It is also known as PSHEE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education), PSED (Personal, Social and Emotional Development) and PSHCE (Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education).

PSHE topics[edit]

Topics covered within PSHE are grouped in three core themes:

(i) health and wellbeing
(ii) relationships
(iii) living in the wider world

They include:[2]

Recent developments[edit]

The UK government published in May 2005[3] the "SEAL" pack (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) for primary schools to teach emotional "literacy" and personal growth overtly through PSHE and the curriculum. This is to be supported also in secondary schools in England and Wales with a similar pack, still in development, called "SEBS" or Social, Emotional and Behavioural Skills. It is also sometimes referred to as variants of PSHEE (Personal Social Health Economic Education).[citation needed]

In January 2011 a large study of PSHE education in primary and secondary schools in England was completed by the Centre for Education and Inclusion Research (CEIR) at Sheffield Hallam University.[4] This research was based on a nationally representative survey and in-depth case studies to map and assess the delivery and effectiveness of current provision in English primary and secondary schools.

In July 2011, the Department for Education launched an internal review of personal, social, health and economic education to look at the content and quality of teaching of PSHE in schools.[5] Closing date for the responses to the review was Wednesday 30 November 2011.

The Government’s PSHE education review concluded in March 2013, stating that the subject would remain non-statutory and that no new programmes of study would be published.[6] However in July 2013 the PSHE Association produced a revised programme of study ‘based on the needs of today’s pupils and schools’. Their programme of study identifies the key concepts and skills that underpin PSHE education and help schools to fulfil their statutory responsibilities.[7]

Presently,[when?] sex-and-relationships education is[vague] compulsory from the age of 11, and it "shall not promote early sexual activity or any particular sexual orientation."[8][vague]


  1. ^ Ofsted (2010) Personal, social, health and economic education in schools[Accessed 27 Nov 2015]
  2. ^ "Our PSHE Education Programme of Study (Key Stages 1-4)" (PDF). The PSHE Association. 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  3. ^ "Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL): Improving behaviour, improving learning". Retrieved 7 January 2012.
  4. ^ Formby, Eleanor; Coldwell, Mike; Stiell, Bernadette; Demack, Sean; Stevens, Anna; Shipton, Lucy; Wolstenholme, Claire; Willis, Benn. "Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education: A mapping study of the prevalent models of delivery and their effectiveness". Department for Education (UK).
  5. ^ Department for Education e-consultations, Review of Personal, Social, Health and Economics (PSHE) Education
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^


There are many independent publications supporting the teaching of PSHE in schools in the UK:

  • Jigsaw PSHE Scheme of Work by Jan Lever and Clare Williams
  • Circles, PSHE and Citizenship in Secondary Schools by Marilyn Tew, Hilary Potter and Mary Read
  • PSHE and Citizenship by Hilary Mason
  • The PSHE Co-Ordinator's Handbook by Colin Noble, Graham Hofmann
  • Dimensions Creative Curriculum PSHE schemes of work Nursery EYFS, KS1, KS2 by Elaine Sutton

See also[edit]

External links[edit]