PSHE is more than just another subject. It provides the opportunity for all pupils to develop the necessary skills and knowledge they need now and as they progress into their future. PSHE should equip pupils with the foundation they need to be able to understand, prepare for, and respond to a variety of life experiences, opportunities, and challenges. 

PSHE is currently a non-statutory subject, and sometimes this can contribute to the perception that it is of less value than other subjects in the curriculum. However, well taught PSHE is an invaluable tool to the school, pupils, and the wider community. Underpinning other health and wellbeing activities and efforts in school, PSHE can have a big influence on the wellbeing and experience of pupils in the shared community and so can contribute to pupils thriving in the school setting.  


PSHE Delivery  

How PSHE is delivered is left for individual schools to decide, and to a certain extent can be tailored to reflect the specific needs of their pupils. Broadly, the topics delivered within PSHE education include:  

  • Physical health (including food, activity, keeping well, drugs and alcohol education, first aid, sleep, dental health)
  • Mental health (including helping others)
  • Growing and changing
  • Personal safety (including online safety)
  • Relationships and sex education
  • Bullying and discrimination
  • Media and digital literacy
  • Money and careers
  • Community and responsibility


Delivery of relationship education in primary schools, relationship and sex education for secondary schools, and health education in both primary and secondary schools, is compulsory. Some schools opt to purchase a PSHE programme, others create their own, and others do a mixture of both. One is not better than the other but how the PSHE is delivered is key, whatever method is taken. The PSHE Association provide some excellent tips and resources to help deliver PSHE in a safe, effective, and compassionate way. 


What does good practice look like?

PSHE Delivery

  • All staff teaching PSHE have received relevant training and have the confidence and skills necessary to feel comfortable with delivery. 
  • There is an assigned PSHE lead in school and the importance of PSHE is recognised by the Headteacher and Senior Leadership team. 
  • PSHE is prioritised as a subject, timetabled, and supported by extra-curricular activities and events (although this is not the only way PSHE is delivered).  
  • Staff delivering PSHE are familiar with the school’s safeguarding, PSHE, and RSE policies and know what to do if disclosures are made in the classroom.  
  • Ground rules are established between pupils and staff within to create a safe learning environment.  
  • Pupils have opportunities to feedback on their experience of PSHE delivery.  
  • No assumptions are made about pupils’ levels of knowledge or experience. Teaching builds upon prior learning and includes baseline assessments of understanding which are revisited.   
  • The PSHE curriculum is evidence-based, up-to-date, factual, and balanced, and not biased towards any particular viewpoint. 
  • Pupils have opportunities and are encouraged to ask questions via different methods (including anonymously). Factual and age-appropriate answers are given, and staff are mindful of body language and facial expressions when answering.  
  • There are procedures in place to plan for and respond to situations where pupils may be affected by the topics discussed, e.g., discussing before the lesson, providing an option for pupil(s) not to attend, discussing with other colleagues, discussing with parents/carers.  
  • Provide a range of different signposting and sources of information for pupils, including where, when, why, and how support might be accessed.  
  • PSHE content is inclusive and reflective of a variety of different backgrounds and circumstances. Opportunities should be taken to promote inclusion and challenge stereotypes. 
  • Lessons improve knowledge and understanding as well as providing opportunities for pupils to practice key skills and engage in activities.  
  • PSHE materials and external speakers and organisations supporting delivery have been adequately reviewed to ensure content does not unintentionally glamorise or promote harmful behaviours.  
  • Teaching is not fear-based or centred around worst-case scenarios. Teaching approaches do not invoke shame or guilt which can have detrimental impacts on wellbeing.  

Relationships & Sex Education (RSE)

  • The school seeks pupils’ views on RSE delivery so teaching can be refined and adapted to ensure it is effective, relevant, and meets the needs of the pupils in each cohort. 
  • The school proactively seeks to understand the needs, issues, and topics of interest related to RSE in their pupils, so teaching and information can be tailored and targeted as needs change and arise 
  • The RSE curriculum is planned, timetabled, and delivered in an appropriate way to all pupils in school.  
  • Staff with the responsibility of teaching RSE are adequately trained and have the knowledge, confidence, and temperament to deliver RSE safely and effectively.  
  • Expert organisations and visitors enhance the delivery of RSE but are not relied upon to deliver the whole curriculum. 
  • The school works with parents/caregivers and with pupils, informing them about what they will learn about in the curriculum and when, and how parents/caregivers can contribute at home.  
  • There is a culture in school where pupils feel safe to engage and participate in RSE lessons. A variety of different approaches are used with opportunities for relationship skills development and critical thinking, and different methods for pupils to ask questions and follow-up.  
  • RSE is delivered based on reliable, evidenced, and quality assured information, including about the law and distinguishes between fact and opinion. 
  • RSE education promotes safe, equal, caring, and enjoyable relationships and highlights real-life issues in an age and stage appropriate way. 
  • RSE provides a positive view of sexuality with medically accurate information and terminology. 
  • Provides pupils with the opportunities to reflect on the different values and influences that exist with regards to sex, sexuality, and relationships, that may impact how they think and shape their attitudes.  
  • The school provides readily available information and signposting about how to seek help, advice, and treatment for sexual and reproductive health. 
  • RSE promotes gender equality and LGBTQ+ equality and challenges all forms of discrimination.  
  • Education on LGBTQ+ is specific and positive e.g., not discussed only in the context of bullying. 
  • The school delivers RSE in a way that meets the needs of all pupils and their experiences, including those with SEND.  
  • The school has an RSE policy which is reviewed annually. 

Drug & Alcohol Education

  • The school seeks pupils’ views on drugs and alcohol education so teaching can be refined and adapted to ensure it is effective, relevant, and meets the needs of the pupils in each cohort. 
  • The school has an accessible drugs and alcohol policy that is available to the whole school community, and includes ensuring a substance-free school premises  
  • Age-appropriate education is delivered universally and children and young people are supported to develop the skills, knowledge, and self-efficacy that can enable them to make informed and positive decisions  
  • Interventions and specialist support is available for pupils at increased risk of or already known to have problematic substance use and staff are aware of how to refer to support services 
  • Information about local and national support and advice services are readily available and visible throughout school, to challenge stigma around substance misuse as a ‘hidden issue’ 
  • Staff have received training to ensure they have the relevant knowledge to give informed advice and guidance  
  • There is a designated member of staff responsible for maintaining drugs and alcohol policy and ensuring information on support services is available  
  • A safe space and trusted adult/s are available for pupils to discuss any concerns they have about themselves or others in relation to substance use  
  • Interventions are available for pupils in need of extra support and staff know how to refer to services  
  • The school takes a balanced approach to substance related incidents with the aim of keeping pupils in school and providing access to or enabling support 
  • The school proactively seeks to understand needs and arising issues so teaching and information can be tailored and targeted as needs change and arise.  
  • The school works with parents/caregivers and with pupils, informing them about what they will elarn and how parents can support this education at home.  
  • The school delivers drugs and alcohol education in a way that meets the needs of all pupils, including those with SEND. 

Smoking & Vaping

  • The school has a high-quality Smoke Free Policy, created with input from pupils and a communications plan for this so all members of the school community understand and respect the policy.  
  • Within the policy, staff are supported to reduce smoking activity. For example, support to attend smoking cessation appointments; required to smoke off-site/out of sight of pupils; ensure smoking behaviours are not demonstrated to pupils.  
  • Any pupils who are found smoking on-site receive a referral to an appropriate stop smoking service.  
  • Tobacco education is regularly delivered and interwoven in the curriculum, both through PSHE and also in other subjects where appropriate.  
  • Smoking education also includes education on vaping, including the risks and recommendations for use as a quit aid.  
  • Some school staff have undertaken brief advice training and are able to help pupils to access stop smoking support.  
  • The school has regular communications with parents/caregivers about the expectations in the Smoke Free Policy and take advantage to signpost to local services that may be available.  
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Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)


Smoking & Vaping

Online Safety

Online Safety

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Bullying, Prejudice & Discrimination

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Mentors in Violence Prevention programme

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Drug & Alcohol Education

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