PSHE education is a planned, developmental 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. As part of a whole-school approach, PSHE education develops the qualities and attributes pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society.
PSHE education equips pupils to live healthy, safe, productive, capable, responsible and balanced lives. It encourages them to be enterprising and supports them in making effective transitions, positive learning and career choices and in achieving economic wellbeing. A critical component of PSHE education is providing opportunities for children and young people to reflect on and clarify their own values and attitudes and explore the complex and sometimes conflicting range of values and attitudes they encounter now and in the future.
PSHE education contributes to personal development by helping pupils to build their confidence, resilience and self-esteem, and to identify and manage risk, make informed choices and understand what influences their decisions. It enables them to recognise, accept and shape their identities, to understand and accommodate difference and change, to manage emotions and to communicate constructively in a variety of settings. Developing an understanding of themselves, empathy and the ability to work with others will help pupils to form and maintain good relationships, develop the essential skills for future employability and better enjoy and manage their lives.
PSHE education can help schools to reduce or remove many of the barriers to learning experienced by pupils, significantly improving their capacity to learn and achieve (see our evidence briefing A curriculum for life: the case for statutory PSHE education). The PSHE education programme makes a significant contribution to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development, their behaviour and safety and the school’s statutory responsibility to promote pupils’ wellbeing. In addition the learning provided through a comprehensive PSHE education provision is essential to safeguarding pupils.