Children can benefit enormously from high quality PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) education in schools according to Ofsted and their latest report ‘Not Yet Good Enough’.
Recently we saw The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills publish their recommendations on how PSHE should be taught and whilst the report focused on the fact that PSHE is ‘Not Yet Good Enough’ in schools, it made one thing clear – PSHE education is crucial and plays an important role in helping schools to achieve good and outstanding standards.
‘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.’ *
Whilst the report highlighted that PSHE education was good or better in 60 per cent of schools, it acknowledged that nationally over a third of schools require improvement. Locally we are pleased to say that our RSE (relationship and sex education) team has been responding to similar findings and have been working in partnership with schools to improve PSHE for the last five years.
Spectrum’s RSE team was originally formed over five years ago by the education authority as a direct response to dissatisfaction with PSHE locally. This followed comprehensive and inclusive local and national research carried out with young people and parents. The findings identified a need for a specialist relationship and sexual health education team who could support schools in the delivery of sensitive and at times difficult subject areas.
In 2011, when Spectrum Community Health was formed it had the insight to continue this work when the RSE team was at risk of being disbanded – thank goodness that happened as it puts us in a really good position to trumpet our work in this area, to showcase our innovation and our success in supporting young people.
In Wakefield we are already covering the topic areas that are mentioned in this report, including sexual exploitation. We are doing this through the offer of 5 hours of funded delivery to every year 9 student in secondary education.
Schools in our region take Spectrum up on this offer and allocate a significant amount of PSHE time to the specialist RSE team. We are proud to say that our schools recognise themselves the importance of PSHE for their students and the evidenced based approaches we use.
The RSE Team sees approximately 4000 year 9 students every year and last year alone we delivered 632 separate lessons. In addition to this we see the other year groups for one or two lessons depending on the school and cohort.
Our programmes are delivered by our RSE (relationship & sex education) team and over 20 health care professionals, such as school nurses, outreach nurses, midwives and youth workers who contribute to our programmes, which help to deal with the sensitive and sometimes controversial issues that are addressed.
Our programmes follow the national curriculum and also cover and fulfil the DoH recently published framework ‘A framework for sexual health improvement in England’, which clearly states ambitions for sexual health provision in the under 16’s to build knowledge and resilience among young people.
We have many good examples of best practice which demonstrate how our education programmes are impacting positively upon the priorities we work towards and contribute to our target of reducing health inequalities locally.
One example is Year Book, a special performance and workshop targeting year 7 students that looked at relationships and risky behaviour; through to our standard programmes that target students aged 13-16 and focus on relationships, risk, sexual behaviour, sexual health and substance misuse.
To find out more, to see how our experienced team can support teaching staff as well as designing tailored programmes to support specific areas of learning within schools please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
*The importance of teaching, Schools White Paper, Department for Education, updated 2012; www.education.gov.uk/schools/toolsandinitiatives/schoolswhitepaper/b0068570/the-importance-of-teaching.