PSHE is an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education. All schools should teach PSHE, drawing on good practice, and this expectation is outlined in the introduction to the proposed new National Curriculum.

PSHE is a non-statutory subject. To allow teachers the flexibility to deliver high quality PSHE we consider it unnecessary to provide new standardised frameworks or programmes of study. Teachers are best placed to understand the needs of their pupils and do not need additional central prescription.

However, while we believe that it is for schools to tailor their local PSHE programme to reflect the needs of their pupils, we expect schools to use their PSHE education programme to equip pupils with a sound understanding of risk and with the knowledge and skills necessary to make safe and informed decisions.

Schools should seek to use PSHE education to build, where appropriate, on the statutory content already outlined in the National Curriculum, the basic school curriculum and in statutory guidance on: drug education, financial education, sex and relationship education (SRE) and the importance of physical activity and diet for a healthy lifestyle.

Advice for schools

We will provide grant funding to the PSHE Association to work with schools to advise them in developing their own PSHE curricula and improve the quality of teaching. The Association will focus on signposting schools to high quality resources and in expanding their Chartered Teacher of PSHE programme. We have also asked the Association to promote the teaching of consent as part of SRE, in line with the statutory guidance for that subject.

For drug and alcohol education, we are launching a new evidence-based information service in April 2013 for those working with young people, including schools and teachers. The new service will provide practical advice and tools based on the best international evidence. We are also providing funding to the Centre for the Analysis of Youth Transitions (CAYT) to develop a database of evaluations of programmes aimed at improving outcomes for young people.

CAYT will score the strength of evidence of impact for a submitted programme, so schools and others will know which programmes have the best evidence of impact.

We are also asking Ofsted to conduct a specific survey of effective practice in PSHE teaching, to provide teachers with a range of examples to inform their teaching.