Education should be the means through which children are provided with guidance with regard to spiritual, moral, cultural, social, physical and mental development which should, in turn, provide equality of opportunity, justice, access to democracy, and a productive and sustainable economy for everyone (The National Curriculum, 2000 cited in Inman et al., 2003, p. 5). The National Curriculum (2000 cited in Inman et al., 2003, p. 5) sets out the expressed aim that pupils should be encouraged to develop enduring values which foster integrity whilst helping them to develop into autonomous responsible citizens who are able to make an active contribution to the society in which they live. The curriculum should provide opportunities for students to reflect upon the belief systems and culture of those around them, while simultaneously developing their sense of self, as well as a sense of respect and tolerance for diversity (National Curriculum, 2000 cited in Inman et al., 2003, p. 5). The notion that Personal, Health, Social and Economic Education (PSHE) is the appropriate curriculum area through which this might be delivered is endorsed by the recent review conducted by the Department for Education (DfE, 2015). This document states that an in-depth review of over 70 studies found that these lessons could benefit pupils across a diverse range of outcomes if there was a coherent, universal approach towards the social, emotional and behavioural development of students (Sklad et al., 2012). Furthermore, Langford et al. (2014) state that concerted efforts to promote health and well-being within schools had a demonstrable positive effect on issues such as smoking, bullying, diet and exercise. The aim of this essay is to look at the place of PSHE in the curriculum and the influence that this (as a subject area/concept) can have upon the life of a school.
PSHE is described as an important part of a child’s education which should be delivered by all schools (DfE, 2013). The DfE (2013) state that the non-statutory nature of the subject allows PSHE to be moulded to the needs of specific groups of pupils, depending upon the environment in which they live and their particular needs. A critical aim provided for by this subject is that it should enable pupils to be able to make sound assessment of risk, and encourage learners to build up the necessary skills and knowledge to enable them to make considered, informed decisions (DfE, 2013). This is particularly important with regard to issues such as drug education, sex and relationships education, financial education and health education (DfE, 2013). The subject is described as the vehicle through which meaningful debate about essential issues can be brought into children’s lives (Goddard et al., 2013) which allows them to develop the life skills to become independent, informed and active citizens (Department for Education and Employment/Qualifications and Curriculum Authority [DfEE/QCA], 1999; endorsed by Worcestershire County Council, 2007). The DfE (2015, p. 4) state that PSHE “â€¦ is a planned programme of school-based learning opportunities and experiences that deal with the real life issues children and young people face as they grow up,”
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