PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) education, teaches students the skills and knowledge needed to cope with their future lives and careers, and to stay healthy and safe. From Key Stage one (aged five to seven) through to five (aged 16-18), PSHE education is taught as a subject and considered an important part of the curriculum.
These classes have proven to have positive effects on both the academic and non-academic aspects of a student’s life. Most schools have one class per week as well as special sessions throughout the year with experts giving talks on everything from party lifestyles and consent to handling the emotional aspects of transitioning from primary school to secondary school and managing online relationships.
During the primary years, the PSHE curriculum revolves around learning about:
Health and wellbeing
- How to maintain a healthy lifestyle (physical, emotional and mental)
- Keeping physically and emotionally safe
- Managing puberty and transition
- Making informed decisions about health and where to get help if needed
- Responding to an emergency
- Online safety, personal hygiene, differences between boys and girls, and how to talk about feelings
- How to manage and maintain relationships within the many social and cultural situations students in international schools encounter
- Managing emotions, how to respond to negative relationships (bullying and abusive) and ask for help
- How to respect equality and diversity, listen and accept other people’s opinions, and care for family and friends
- Identifying what kind of physical contact is acceptable
Living in the wider world
- Responsibility and respect
- Understanding the role that money plays (where it comes from, managing it safely, saving, how to keep it safe)
- Different groups and communities
- Understanding their rights and responsibilities as students, children, siblings, friends and citizens
- How business works on a basic level
All this is taught through various mediums and classes depending on the subject. For example, in ICT (Information and Communications Technology), online safety will be discussed and in PE, the importance of fitness and sports to keep healthy will be emphasised.
In secondary school, PSHE classes follow the same curriculum but in more detail and in accordance with the maturity of the students. These classes are particularly important at this stage as teenage students are at the point of their lives where pushing boundaries, experimentation, becoming more independent and wanting to take part in more adult-like activities is the norm.
The topics covered in key stages three to five (ages 11-18) include:
- How to lead a healthy lifestyle in general
- Relationships and sex education
- Physical and online safety
- Drugs, alcohol and tobacco education
- Emotional, mental and economic wellbeing
- How to manage personal finances
- Careers and work life guidance
- Understanding bullying and how to manage it
Benefits of PSHE education
Now more than ever, PSHE education plays a vital role in developing the necessary understanding needed for students to become successful, caring adults. Known as the curriculum that prepares children and teens for life, it helps with so many life-changing decisions and makes them aware of what is the right thing to do.
Parents want schools to prepare their children academically so that they can further their studies, get good jobs and become successful. But they are also aware that scholastic performance is influenced by so much more than just studying. Getting top grades without learning about the practicalities of life and how to manage relationships could lead to difficulties when entering the ‘real world’.
Some parents are unable or reluctant to discuss subjects like safe sex, STDs, drugs, partying and personal safety – this is where PSHE comes in. By taking some of the onus off the parents, these life lessons taught at school ensure that students are prepared to deal with problems, manage their lifestyles, be good citizens, communicate better and make informed decisions.