We are pleased to launch a new report in partnership with the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) outlining 11 key principles of effective practice in prevention education. These principles will help PSHE Association members and supporters to teach high-quality online safety education as part of their broader programmes. The principles are based on a literature review of research into common elements of successful educational interventions, encompassing hundreds of programmes in the UK and abroad.
The report reveals that effective interventions are more likely to engage with parents and the wider community, consulting them in the design of the programme, and ensuring that positive messages taught at school are reinforced at home. Other findings include the importance of using interactive and skills-based teaching strategies, and effective monitoring and evaluation.
Experts in the field have urged education professionals to take an evidence-based approach, arguing that principles of effective practice are transferrable across areas of prevention education, from online safety and sex and relationships education, to programmes developing essential social and emotional skills. We hope this document will support teachers and other education professionals to deliver evidence-based online safety education, within the context of a broader PSHE programme.
PSHE Association Chief Executive Joe Hayman said
“Children, young people and parents across the country are concerned about safe use of technology so we are delighted to have worked with CEOP to produce this report on the key principles of effective prevention practice. We believe that PSHE education, as part of a whole school approach, has a crucial role to play in ensuring that children and young people keep safe online.
In a time when parents across the country are concerned about issues like contact from strangers online, ‘sexting’ and cyberbullying we are very pleased to be helping schools to address these issues; we are also pleased to note that parental engagement has been identified as a key element of successful interventions.”
Jonathan Baggaley, Head of Education at the NCA’s CEOP Command, said:
“This valuable report sets out clear, evidence-based principles for all those who develop and deliver online safety education programmes, distilled from years of relevant experience. It shows that helping children practice skills as well as gaining knowledge, delivering a structured curriculum over time, training and developing staff and engaging with parents and communities make a real difference in preventing harm to children.
Today’s children are growing up online, and make little distinction between life online and off. Their use of online games, apps and services plays a crucial role in the development of their identities, friendships, relationships, passions and aspirations. It is essential that we respond by offering them high-quality online safety education based on the best available evidence. We hope this report will help educators to do just that."
New research also released today shows associations between PSHE and pupil wellbeing
We are also pleased to publish a short briefing outlining evidence that suggests that pupils who are positive about the PSHE lessons they receive at school are more likely to have positive relationships at school, as well as a strong feeling of belonging at school. The findings are based on analysis conducted by the University of Hertfordshire and the PSHE Association, using data from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) research study which surveyed 5,335 English school children aged 11, 13 and 15 in 2014.
The analysis suggests that pupils who report that topics relating to personal safety, health and wellbeing, and sex and relationships were covered well in their PSHE education were also less likely to have been bullied or to have bullied others, and more likely to have positive relationships with other pupils and feelings of belonging.
While these associations do not prove causation, we believe they add to the case for PSHE education in the context of wider evidence of positive outcomes from school-based PSHE programmes, much of which is outlined in the Department for Education’s PSHE evidence review published last year.