Health and Wellbeing education in Scotland

Health and Wellbeing education in Scotland

Guidance from the PSHE Association on how key topics within the Health and Wellbeing strand of the Scottish curriculum are covered through the programme of study and other quality assured PSHE resources. This guidance is recommended for teachers of Personal and Social Education (PSE) in Scotland.

Those of you teaching in Scotland will be aware that ‘Health and Wellbeing education’ is one of the eight curriculum areas outlined in the Curriculum for Excellence. The Scottish government states that the curriculum;

‘emphasises the importance of nurturing learners to help them develop the knowledge and skills they need for positive mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing at school, in their everyday lives which will be sustained into adult life.’


The Health and Wellbeing strand of the curriculum is organised into six key topic areas, five of which are areas covered by the PSHE Association programme of study for key stages 1 to 5 (Equivalent to P1- S6):

  1. Mental, Emotional, Social and Physical Wellbeing
  2. Planning for Choices and Changes
  3. Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport
  4. Food and Health
  5. Substance Misuse
  6. Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood

The Curriculum for Excellence factfile – Health and Wellbeing provides a useful introduction to these topics and what content is covered under each topic and the PSHE Association programme of study is available here.


Health and Wellbeing education - how the PSHE Association can support schools

The PSHE Association supports teachers from across the UK and in international schools around the world to cover life skills and health and wellbeing education. This education is essential so children and young people can acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to make their own decisions and manage their lives, now and in the future.  The teacher guidance, self-review and assessment tools and lesson plans produced by the PSHE Association aim to support teachers to cover most of the key topics outlined in the Health and Wellbeing strand of the Curriculum for Excellence.

We have medium term plans and lesson planning guidance for both primary and secondary schools which provide more in depth guidance about PSE/ PSHE. Please see:


Below we recommend some of our own and some externally produced resources, quality assured by us, that are useful for Personal and Social Education (PSE) teachers in Scotland.

  1. Mental, Emotional, Social and Physical Wellbeing

Mental and emotional wellbeing:

children learn to recognise and express feelings, understand how feelings affect how we behave, know where to get help and support and how to manage stressful situations.

Social wellbeing:

Children learn about rights and responsibilities and how to put these into practice.

Physical wellbeing:

Young people learn about the body: young people learn about the body and how to apply that knowledge to stay healthy and well.


  1. Planning for Choices and Changes

Children take part in activities that widen knowledge about choices in life and the costs and benefits attached. Young people will learn how to manage expectations and hopes, and develop decision-making skills that will help them make good choices for the future.

It is a key priority of ours to equip children and young people with the skills and knowledge they need to make their own decisions. Hence most of our resources link to this part of the Curriculum for Excellence. For example our PSHE education Programme of Study (key Stages 1 – 4) outlines the intrapersonal skills required for self-management and the interpersonal skills required for positive relationships in a wide variety of settings.


  1. Food and Health

The focus of this topic area is on Food Technology/ Home Economics however the programme of study includes healthy eating, a balanced lifestyle, the influences on food choices and body image, including the media. We can therefore recommend the following two resources related to this;


  1. Substance Misuse

This covers understanding of the use and misuse of a variety of substances including over-the-counter and prescribed medicines, alcohol, drugs, tobacco and solvents. Young people will explore the impact of risk-taking behaviour on life choices to promote positive choices. This is done in a way that’s appropriate to their age and maturity.


  1. Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood

This covers how to build and keep good relationships with a variety of people. It explores awareness of how thoughts, feelings, attitudes, values and beliefs can influence decisions about relationships. As children grow older and mature, they’ll learn about sexual health and develop an understanding of the responsibilities of caring and parenthood.


Further support from the PSHE Association

For full access to our resources and for regular updates by email we recommend that you become a member of the PSHE Association. Our resources and guidance are designed to be flexible and be adaptable to local differences between communities. Links can therefore be made between the aims and objectives outlined in our resources and the provision in each school. 

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the support we can offer or how to sign up for membership.

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