Updated: Aug 6, 2021
Physical, Social, Health and Economic Education has finally made a comeback in the UK National School Curriculum! As of September 2020, Health Education and Relationships Education at Primary level is now compulsory, as well as, Relationships and Sex Education at Secondary level. Unfortunately, the economic component of PSHE (Living in the Wider World) still remains optional, but, is most certainly encouraged!
As a teacher I am very passionate about PSHE as I have seen first-hand, children and young people’s potential being shattered as a result of the distractions, temptations and influence of 21st century culture. It has become clear to me that PSHE is just as valuable as traditional subjects, such as, Science and Math. Let's face it, if our children are unable to nurture their mental health, manage their time spent on technology and get enough sleep, then how can they successfully fulfil their personal and academic goals?
We are educating during a time where 'Maslow before Bloom' is essential and I believe that the absence of PSHE in our curriculums, over the past few decades is presented in Millennials. According to various sources, Millennials are reporting the "highest levels of stress and depression than any other generation at the same age" by USA Today, as well as, the New York Federal Reserve revealing that "Millennials have now racked up over US$1 trillion of debt. This troubling amount of debt, an increase of over 22 percent in just five years, is more than any other generation in history". I'm not saying that the absence of PSHE is the sole cause of these issues, but, I do strongly believe that a compulsory PSHE curriculum would have made a significant impact on how Millennials face social, personal and economic challenges.
There are whispers that claim that PSHE should be "left to the parents" or "skills that are learned through experience". There are several concerns regarding comments like this, firstly, not every child is fortunate enough to have parents who are appropriate role-models and secondly, a "learned through experience approach" is reactive and in many cases, can be detrimental to the health, wellbeing and safety of children and young people.
Do you believe that PSHE is as valuable as traditional school subjects? Does your school make PSHE a priority? Did you receive a fulfilling PSHE curriculum when you were a student? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!