Supporting public health outcomes in Portsmouth

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The Public Health Team at Portsmouth City Council were keen to improve public health outcomes in the city. To have a real impact, the team knew they needed to be engaging with children and young people.That meant working with schools, and teaching about these issues within PSHE education was a key part of this strategy.

We were able to create a unique partnership, working together with the Public Health Team, and the Education/Children’s Services Team.


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Addressing Portsmouth’s public health priorities

We worked closely with the Public Health Team and other colleagues from across the city council. They were able to identify key priorities within the local authority’s public health and children’s services plans – these included violence in relationships, economic wellbeing and raising aspirations, and healthy weight and physical activity. We also taught schools themselves to assess the health needs of their pupils.

Through this assessment of local needs, we adapted our Programme of Study to emphasize these key areas. This curriculum was made available to all schools in Portsmouth.

Supporting all Portsmouth City Council schools

To ensure that all local authority schools benefitted from support to improve PSHE provision, we worked with the council to ensure all schools were entitled to long-term PSHE Association membership, which includes access to low-cost training, our suite of guidance documents and resources, and advice and support by phone and e-mail. 

Establishing a pilot schools programme

Over the past year, we provided a group of 10 pilot schools with intensive training and an ongoing advice service over phone and email, as well as regular network meetings and one-to-one support in school with a staff INSET session. Pilot schools modelled their PSHE curriculum on the adapted Programme of Study we developed for Portsmouth.

We believe the pilot programme has been of great benefit to Portsmouth City Council, raising its profile on a national level through opportunities to showcase the work at, including a recent Public Health England and Local Government Association conference on building public health in schools.

Evaluating our impact in Portsmouth

As part of the project specification, we designed an evaluation programme working with leading independent PSHE educationrearcher Dr Jenny McWhirter. This involved Dr McWhirter looking at all the pilot schools as well as focusing on four case studies. Her report findings are extremely positive and have, for example, identified significant improvements in assessment by teachers and extremely high levels of satisfaction from the teachers who took part in the pilot.

Building on our success

We are delighted that Portsmouth City Council have seen the pilot as a success and are continuing into a second phase with more schools now participating through the Councils Traded Services Offer. We are keen to work with colleagues to embed the learning in our first 10 pilot schools, take the learning to another cohort of Portsmouth schools, and build sustainability by working with local authority teams to provide ongoing support to those schools.

Additionally, we will continue to offer support to all Portsmouth schools through Association membership.

To discuss how we can help you achieve your local priorities, contact Sue Warren at

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