Personal, Social and Health Education

Personal, Social and Health Education

Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) is an element of the state school curriculum in England . Also known as "PACE" in some schools, it is a subject that many secondary teachers find difficult to teach because it has not had the status of an examinable subject. The subject covers statutory elements, such as drugs and relationships (sex) and many other aspects of health and personal growth. It is perhaps the teaching style and relationship that can worry teachers because this is not a subject where the knowledge and answers are to be found in a text book. The subject is the student and there are no right or wrong answers. Teachers, are however charged with guiding students and working through speaking and listening, which is why teaching whilst sitting in a circle can be an excellent mode of working. "Circle Time" is not a new concept but is rarely used in UK secondary schools. Hilary Potter, whose research in this area stemmed from her time in the USA, believes that it is the best way to teach and learn PSHE.
SPHE (Social, Personal and Health Education) is taught in the Junior Cycle and Transition Year of Secondary Schools in the Republic of Ireland, also as a non-examinable subject. The curriculum is very similar (if not identical) to the PSHE subject in England.

Recent Development

Recent research at the University of Southampton and Bristol has resulted in a thrust towards changing this. The UK government has published the "SEAL" pack (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) for primary schools to overtly teach emotional literacy and personal growth through PSHE and the curriculum. This is to be supported also on secondary schools in England and Wales with a similar pack, still in development, called "SEBS" or Social, Emotional and Behavioural Skills.


There are many independent publications supporting the teaching of PSHE in schools in the UK:
* Circles, PSHE and Citizenship in Secondary Schools by Marilyn Tew, Hilary Potter and Mary Read
* PSHE and Citizenship by Hilary Mason
* The PSHE Co-Ordinator's Handbook by Colin Noble, Graham Hofmann

See also

* Health education
* Personal and Social Education

External links

* [ QCA Review of PSHE 04/05]
* [] Training and advice for effective use of "Circle Time"
* [ PSHE Book Publishers]
* [ PSHE Resources - Software and Lesson Plans]

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