Evidence and research

We're bringing together evidence to demonstrate PSHE education's positive impact. 

4-3-ux-indonesia-8mikJ83LmSQ-unsplash-resized

 

Evidence shows PSHE education’s impact in a number of areas, including emotional wellbeing, physical health, academic attainment, and preparation for work.

We will highlight key evidence here, including academic research, case studies and surveys. This will help you make the case for PSHE education with colleagues (including senior leadership), governors, trustees and parents. And it helps us to fly the flag for PSHE education nationally.

Our research and evidence briefings

Our briefings are short but comprehensive summaries of evidence on key aspects of PSHE education.

Key principles of effective prevention education
Evidence review on good practice in prevention education, produced in partnership with CEOP.
Read more
PSHE's role in preventing and challenging extremism
We examine the important role that PSHE plays, as part of a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling extremism.
Read more
Government briefings
  • Published by the Department for Education in March 2015, this review is an overview of research into the impact of PSHE education. It outlines the positive impact of PSHE education on pupils' physical and emotional wellbeing, readiness to learn, and a range of health outcomes including smoking, drinking, diet and exercise. It also demonstrates that PSHE education can have a positive impact on pupils academic and career success through developing key personal and social skills.

    Read more

  • This Department for Education briefing examines young people’s attitudes towards the Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) they received at school and subsequent sexual risk-taking when they were aged 18/19. It evaluates a variety of delivery strategies across a wide range of schools in England to shed light on what constitutes effective practice within PSHE.

    Read more

  • This research examined PSHE delivery models, how the different strands are delivered in primary/secondary schools, the length of the allocated time in the curriculum and the extent to which schools provide coverage of all elements of the subject.

    Read more

  • Ofsted survey report from 2013 evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education in England. This report is based on evidence from inspections of PSHE education carried out between January 2012 and July 2012 in 50 maintained schools and on evidence from an online survey of 178 young people conducted between October and November 2012.

    Read more

Wider research
  • This report by the Education Endowment Foundation summarises pedagogically backed evidence for the teaching of social and emotional learning with the national curriculum. The report makes 6 recommendations on how to plan, implement and teach an SEL programme and reinforce learnt skills through a whole school ethos.

    Read more

  • This UNESCO report affirms relationships and sex education within a framework of human rights and gender equality. It promotes universal, structured learning about sex and relationships in a manner that is positive, affirming, and centered on the best interest of the young person.

    Read more

  • CASEL identifies five core competencies that can be taught through social and emotional learning (SEL): self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. CASEL's 2017 Meta-Analysis, which analysed research projects involving more than 97,000 students, showed that pupils exposed to SEL programmes performed higher academically than their counterparts.

    Read more

  • PSHE education should be delivered as part of a whole-school approach aimed at supporting pupils’ health, wellbeing and development. sometimes referred to as a Health Promoting School. The Cochrane Review of Health Promoting Schools examines evidence from a number of studies, finding a significant impact on physical activity, body mass index, fruit and vegetable intake, smoking, and bullying. You can read a blog by author Dr Beki Langford hosted here.

    Read more

  • In 2017, Brook and CEOP published this report exploring the role of digital technology in young people's love lives and romantic relationships. Whilst highlighting the many positive impacts digital technology can have on intimate relationships, the report outlines the need for online safety education to protect young people from potential harms.

    Read more

  • This briefing published by Public Health England is aimed at headteachers, governors, teachers and other education practitioners. It outlines evidence showing that promoting pupil health and wellbeing as part of a whole-school approach can also have a positive impact on educational outcomes. The document also identifies how strategies to improve pupil health and wellbeing link with the Ofsted inspection framework.

    Read more

  • This collaborative report from the UNODC, UNESCO and the WHO sets out the fundamental responsibility the education sector has to protect children and young people from substance use by ensuring the core curriculum includes learning about the risks associated with substance use and facilitates the development of students’ personal and social skills relevant to health-seeking behaviours.

    Read more

  • This evidence review from the UCL Jill Dando Institute for Security and Crime Science summarises existing research into police involvement in schools. Findings include that police activity, wherever experienced, can be considered an important part of the education and legal socialisation of young people. This review partly informed our Police in the Classroom Handbook.

    Read more

  • A 2021 report from the Coalition for Youth Mental Health stressed the need for regular PSHE education curriculum time alongside an initial teacher training (ITT) route for PSHE teachers.

    Read more

Young people need education to prepare them to thrive in the real world. Fully Human is a new PSHE Association initiative that explores how we do that.
16-9-FH_Slide-resized