Reviewing PSHE – 2011A Briefing on the Department for Education’s commitment to review PSHEeducationIn November 2010 the D...
importance of drug education and it will be intriguing to see how this plays into the focus ofthe review.The Drug Strategy...
The review must consider how PSHE education maps on to the wider public health         agenda. We believe that good PSHE e...
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PSHE Review

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The government have promised an internal review of Personal, Social, Health and Economic education.

This briefing paper looks at their public statements on the review and sets out some of the things the Drug Education Forum would like to see emerge from the review.

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PSHE Review

  1. 1. Reviewing PSHE – 2011A Briefing on the Department for Education’s commitment to review PSHEeducationIn November 2010 the Department for Education committed to an internal review of PSHEeducation1 saying: “We will conduct an internal review to determine how we can support schools to improve the quality of all PSHE teaching, including giving teachers the flexibility to use their judgement about how best to deliver PSHE education”.Parliamentary QuestionsSince then Parliamentarians have asked a series of questions trying to get more detail aboutthe scope and content of the review.Nick Gibb, Minister of State at the DfE, responded to a question on 8th March 2011 fromStewart Jackson, MP (Con). He explained: “The review of Personal, Social, Health and Economic education is described as „internal‟ to reflect that it will be led by the Department and not an external body or panel. Further decisions relating to the process and timescale for the internal PSHE review have not yet been taken. The Department for Education is currently considering options and further information will be available in due course”.Following a question posed by Andy Burnham, MP (Lab), Nick Gibb responded on 28thFebruary 2011 explaining that: “One full-time official is planning the review of PSHE. This official is supported by the policy team which has responsibility for PSHE and pastoral care. This team has six officials”.Reading the RunesThe Drug Strategy and the Education White Paper can give us an indication about thedirection and scope of the review. The Prime Minister has also spoken recently about the1 The Importance of Teaching; The Schools White Paper 2010
  2. 2. importance of drug education and it will be intriguing to see how this plays into the focus ofthe review.The Drug Strategy was clear about the responsibility schools have for providing drugeducation, but recognises there is also a responsibility for drug education outside of schoolsand pledged to work with voluntary organisations and place a lot of importance upon FRANK.In relation to schools the government aims to:- Provide accurate information through drug education and targeted information using FRANK. Use wider search powers to tackle problem behaviours in school, and to tackle drug dealing in schools. Work with the local voluntary sector and police to prevent drug and alcohol misuse.The Education White Paper was equally clear about its commitment to PSHE saying that it will:- “…ensure all schools are given the resources and space they need to offer a truly rounded education”.They went on to make the case for PSHE: “Children can benefit enormously from high-quality Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE) education. Good PSHE supports individual young people to make safe and informed choices. It can help tackle public health issues such as substance misuse and support young people with the financial decisions they must make”.The Drug Education Forum’s Key AsksThe Drug Education is committed to positively engaging where we can with the Department’sreview. We believe that it offers an opportunity to improve the quality of school based drugeducation.Our priorities will be:- PSHE should be statutory. Schools and other settings need high quality resources for drug education. For example, the resources developed for the Blueprint Drug Education Research Programme should be released for adaptation and use by the Home Office. Teachers and others in the community delivering drug education need training so that their practice is informed by evidence and continuing professional development. The evidence base for what works in drug education and prevention needs investment. This should be supported by quality standards for drug education, as is the case in many other countries.2 www.drugeducationforum.com
  3. 3. The review must consider how PSHE education maps on to the wider public health agenda. We believe that good PSHE education can and should contribute to reducing the risk factors in children and young people’s lives and enhance the protective factors. We hope and expect that while the review is internally led the DfE will actively seek the views of practitioners and experts from the field.The Prime Minister’s ViewDavid Cameron recently said: “I think education about drugs is vital and we should make sure that education programmes are there in our schools and we should make sure that they work”.The PSHE review is a perfect opportunity to translate the Prime Minister’s view into reality. The Drug Education Forum is the forum of national organisations committed to improving the practice and profile of drug education in England. We believe that drug education should help children and young people develop their knowledge about drugs, their skills in taking decisions, and to develop a positive attitude towards their own health. Drug education mustnt be a subject just for schools or the youth service; evidence suggests that parents and carers who talk to their children regularly about drugs, alcohol and tobacco have a beneficial effect.3 www.drugeducationforum.com

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