National curriculum PSHE explained

Girl looking worried
PSHE stands for Personal, Social and Health Education. It is an important part of your child's national curriculum learning. So what does it cover and how can you support your child at home?

Personal, social and health education (PSHE) helps to give children the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy and independent lives. It aims to help them understand how they are developing personally and socially, tackling many of the moral, social and cultural issues that are part of growing up. The kinds of questions that might come up in PSHE include: What acts indicate kindness? Why do we have to eat vegetables? Why do large items sometimes cost less than smaller ones?

It is here that your child will learn about bullying, citizenship, drug education, healthy eating, physical activity, mental and emotional health, wellbeing, and sex and relationships.

Learning opportunities take place in specific lessons as well as in assemblies, tutorial programmes, circle time, special school projects and other activities that enrich pupils' experiences.

What children learn

Here are some examples of the areas that may be covered in PSHE:

Money
Money plays a large role in our lives and in the way we relate to each other.

Sex and relationships
Sex education has now become sex and relationships education (SRE), signalling the growing consensus that children are entitled to more than just the biological facts.

Personal health
Children learn that regular physical activity and a healthy diet can go a long way to ensuring they stay healthy.

Personal wellbeing
Children will talk about common pressures, issues such as friendship and belonging and other things that can contribute to mental wellbeing.

Social issues
Bereavement, voting, taking care of the environment and being a young carer are the kinds of social issues that will be covered. One popular topic is bullying, perhaps because it directly affects children at school, and it's crucial that they know where to seek help if needed.

Drug awareness
These lessons help pupils to understand more about drugs and also clarify any misconceptions they may have.

Help your child at home

  • For younger children, encourage them to dress and undress independently and manage their own hygiene.
  • Provide a role play area resourced with materials reflecting your child's interests.
  • Encourage your child to help you think about cooking and healthy recipes. Take them shopping and involve them in decision making.
  • Simple activities such as board games encourage team-work and help children learn to take turns.
  • With older children, use documentaries and other media to discuss issues around our place and responsibilities in society.
  • Give plenty of positive encouragement and praise.