Why PSHE matters

PSHE education helps children and young people to stay safe, healthy and prepared for life's challenges and opportunities.

PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) education is a school curriculum subject through which pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to manage their lives, now and in the future.

PSHE education helps pupils to stay healthy, safe and prepared for life – and work – in modern Britain. When taught well, PSHE also helps pupils to achieve their academic potential.

Our 2017 'curriculum for life' report outlines evidence of the subject's impact and argued for higher status on the curriculum. This campaign for statutory status achieved significant success with the introduction of statutory status for the majority of the subject from September 2020.

Why is PSHE education important to pupils?

PSHE education helps pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society. From making responsible decisions about alcohol to succeeding in their first job, PSHE education helps pupils to manage many of the most critical opportunities, challenges and responsibilities they will face growing up.

Pupils agree that PSHE education is a vital part of their preparation for life, with 92% of those who have been taught the subject believing all young people should receive high-quality PSHE lessons.

Why is PSHE education important to schools?

PSHE education makes a crucial contribution to schools' duties. The Education Act 2002 requires all schools to teach a curriculum that is ‘broadly based, balanced and meets the needs of pupils’. Schools must ‘promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and prepare pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life’ while having a duty to keep pupils safe.

Our Curriculum section outlines in detail how PSHE education helps schools fulfil their statutory responsibilities, and how high-quality PSHE education contributes to success in Ofsted inspections.

A growing body of research shows that pupils who are emotionally healthy do better at school. PSHE education helps children and young people to achieve their potential by supporting their wellbeing and tackling issues that can affect their ability to learn, such as anxiety and unhealthy relationships. PSHE education also helps pupils to develop skills and aptitudes — like teamwork, communication, and resilience — that are crucial to navigating the challenges and opportunities of the modern world, and are increasingly valued by employers.

Why is PSHE education important to parents?

An overwhelming majority of parents support the view that schools should help prepare children for life and careers alongside academic success. 90% of parents polled by YouGov say that all schools should teach PSHE education and the subject is supported by leading bodies including ParentKind and the National Governance Association.

Parents welcome a partnership between home and schools which supports their children’s personal and social development, and helps to deal with issues of increasing complexity such as those related to mental health and staying safe, both online and offline.

Parental engagement and involvement is therefore key. Our Guides to supporting parental engagement include practical advice for schools, letter templates, parent workshop plans and an overview of requirements regarding withdrawal of pupils from sex education.

Further information