PSHE Education Planning Framework for Pupils with SEND (key Stages 1–4)

PSHE Education Planning Framework for Pupils with SEND (key Stages 1–4)

Illustration of SEND framework theme with bubbles

All schools are required to teach the majority of PSHE education from September 2020. This includes Relationships Education at key stages 1 and 2, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) at key stages 3 and 4, and Health Education in both primary and secondary phases.

We published this latest version of our Framework in July 2020 and it accompanies the 2020 edition of the PSHE Association Programme of Study for PSHE education. It is also fully aligned with the Statutory Guidance for Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education from the Department for Education (DfE). We have mapped the content grids from this statutory guidance to the Planning Framework, and adapted learning outcomes appropriately in cases where statutory content may not be accessible for pupils with SEND.

This Framework also supports schools to provide a comprehensive PSHE programme that integrates, but is not limited to, this new statutory content. ‘The World I Live In’ section covers aspects of PSHE relating to careers education, economic wellbeing, personal safety (including assessing and managing risk) and preparing for adulthood. Though not yet a statutory part of PSHE education, this learning is critical to support different levels of independence that pupils with SEND may have.

The Framework covers all of this while supporting you to plan, assess, monitor and evidence progress and achievement in your pupils’ PSHE education.

The Planning Framework is free to download and printed copies will be available for members to purchase once we resume our delivery service. Register your interest here.

Also see our SEND Hub, with case studies, a webinar, and other SEND-related materials. And book your 30-minute 1-1 consultancy session on using and applying the revised PSHE Planning Framework for pupils with SEND, led by our experienced SEND PSHE specialist. Book Now


The PSHE Education Planning Framework for Pupils with SEND is designed to support special and mainstream schools to plan PSHE education that meets the needs of pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND).

This latest version of our Framework accompanies the 2020 edition of the PSHE Association Programme of Study for PSHE Education (KS1-5) and is fully aligned with the Statutory Guidance for Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education from the Department for Education (DfE). It therefore covers the breadth of PSHE education from RSE and health, to economic wellbeing and careers — placing these topics within a context that matches the needs of learners with SEND. It supports schools to tailor their provision by providing tables of learning outcomes for all topic areas, each broken down into six developmental steps, in line with the DfE’s statutory guidance which states that “in special schools and for some SEND pupils in mainstream schools there may be a need to tailor content and teaching to meet the specific needs of pupils at different developmental stages”.

The Planning Framework is for use in both special and mainstream settings. In mainstream settings it can be used with individual pupils or groups of pupils who have SEND and require a PSHE programme that has been sufficiently differentiated to meet their learning needs. Pupils in special schools, external bases, nurture groups, alternative provisions and mainstream settings will benefit from the cohesive approach presented in this framework.

The statutory guidance for Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), and Health Education is comprehensively covered by the learning opportunities organised into the six sections of the Planning Framework. Even though much of ‘The world I live in’ section is content not included in the statutory requirements, the topic as a whole remains vitally important for pupils’ personal development and economic wellbeing, as well as in supporting schools to meet the Gatsby benchmarks for careers education, as part of the DfE Careers Strategy. The SEND Gatsby benchmark toolkit provides clear advice on how all schools can set out goals and support young people with special educational needs and disabilities move into paid employment and higher education.

Appendix 2 clearly maps the content from the DfE statutory guidance for Relationships Education, RSE and Health Education to the Planning Framework, and identifies learning opportunities — under the six framework section headings — that address each bullet point from the statutory guidance.

The Department for Education’s statutory guidance for Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), and Health Education sets out the content that is compulsory for schools to teach from September 2020. What a school teaches beyond that content is a decision for them, however we strongly recommend that schools teach the statutory content within a broader, comprehensive PSHE education programme for the following reasons:

  • The Department for Education (DfE) says: ‘All elements of PSHE are important and the government continues to recommend PSHE be taught in schools’.
  • If the non-statutory elements of PSHE education are not taught, the ‘personal’ aspects of economic wellbeing will be lost. PSHE complements the financial education covered through Citizenship and Maths, and importantly also covers the personal aspects of economic wellbeing.
  • PSHE education is the vehicle through which schools can best ensure they meet many of the SEND Gatsby benchmarks.
  • Health, relationships, economic wellbeing and an understanding of the world of work are all linked. PSHE education is the glue that binds them together. It gathers all of these aspects of preparing for modern life together into a coherent curriculum subject.

The Planning Framework can be used in many different ways to support effective PSHE planning and delivery. For example:

  • As a reference tool for planning an individualised PSHE education curriculum.
  • As a planning framework across primary and secondary phases.
  • To support lesson learning outcomes and assessment.
  • To help identify priority objectives across the school and for individual pupils.
  • As a guide for recommended coverage within a PSHE education programme dedicated to pupils with SEND.
  • To differentiate levels of knowledge and understanding required within a PSHE programme for pupils with SEND.
  • To support key performance indicators in different accreditation models, e.g. ASDAN and AQA’s Unit Award Scheme (UAS) — which has units relevant to Personal, Social, Health and Economic education.

See our case study series on how colleagues have used the framework in their settings.

The essential structure of the Planning Framework remains the same, identifying learning opportunities for each phase, organised under six headings: Self-Awareness; Self-Care Support and Safety; Managing Feelings; Changing and Growing; Healthy Lifestyles; and The World I Live in.

We have also taken the opportunity to revisit the learning opportunities for each stage, revising and updating them where necessary (in line with the 2020 edition of the PSHE Association Programme of Study) and ensuring that they appropriately address the DfE’s new statutory guidance for Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), and Health Education within the context of meeting the needs of pupils with SEND.

We would encourage all schools to move towards using the updated edition of the Planning Framework as soon as possible. However, you do not have to start from scratch! You can be confident that continuing to use the 2018 edition will enable you to plan a comprehensive and effective PSHE programme, and you can gradually incorporate the new content from the updated planning framework into the PSHE curriculum.

The early years foundation stage (EYFS) is not included within the Planning Framework as PSHE education is not a discrete curriculum subject within the statutory EYFS framework.

Key Stage 5 has not been included within the planning framework as many schools prefer to follow accreditation programmes such as those provided by ASDAN, or to prepare students for apprenticeships, traineeships or supported internships. The PSHE Association Programme of Study includes key stage 5 and this can be used as a reference when adapting learning opportunities for key stage 5 students with SEND.

With PSHE education in the spotlight due to the relationships, sex and health education aspects becoming statutory, Ofsted has been paying more attention to the subject than ever before with ‘deep dives’ in PSHE education increasingly common*. Ofsted’s new inspection framework has a greater focus on personal development and supporting pupils’ future success through quality education. Using the updated planning framework will help to clarify your PSHE curriculum’s ‘Intent’, the tools for planning effective ‘Implementation’ of your curriculum and learning outcomes against which to measure its ‘impact’.

* At the time of publication, Ofsted inspections are not taking place due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting school closures.




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