PSHE and the National Curriculum 2013

PSHE and the Department for Education – National Curriculum Guidance

I’m sure you’re no doubt aware now that the Government’s PSHE education review, concluded in March 2013, stated that PSHE education would remain non-statutory and that no new programmes of study would be published. However, the DfE has stated within its National Curriculum guidance that ‘All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice’. This position was reinforced by the Government’s latest draft of the national curriculum framework, published on 8th July.

But what can be identified as ‘good practice’? Over 100 schools and 10 local authorities across the UK have sought, and found, the answer with R U Different?, a Social Norms programme that works with pupils in KS3 and KS4 to help them make wiser choices around risky behaviours.

The PSHE Association, in consultation with a wide variety of agencies and PSHE practitioners, has produced a revised programme of study based on the needs of today’s pupils and schools. This programme of study is based on three core themes: 1. Health and Wellbeing; 2. Living in the Wider World; 3. Relationships, within which there will be broad overlap and flexibility.

Health & Wellbeing

The pressure to conform and fit in is possibly at its most acute during the early teenage years. Tobacco, alcohol, illicit substances, sex and relationships…all present a new series of choices to young people at this time.

By using the power of Social Norms, R U Different? demonstrates to young people that their perception of their peers’ actions is often very far from reality. Harnessing the impact of truth, by asking the question (via online, wholly confidential surveys) and freely sharing the answers via a series of bespoke, interactive interventions, R U Different? enables young people to make their choices with real understanding of how life really is.

Living In the Wider World

R U Different? has worked closely with schools and local authorities to reveal the truth around bullying, provide the facts about online safety and aspirations for the future.

The power of Social Norms has been proven again and again. The majority of us like to fit into the mainstream. By showing our young people in which direction the stream is flowing, whether this is in regard to risky behaviours, healthy eating, sex & relationships, e-safety and future aspirations we can help them make wiser choices and achieve their personal potential.


We all know that teens aren’t exactly champions of the truth when it comes to discussing sex and relationships. Indeed, our surveys have shown that while year 9 students believe that more than 32% of their year group have already had sex, the reality is that only 12% has in fact done so.

Using this information, a local authority in the North West was able to reduce teenage pregnancy levels in their authority area by 27%. Key to this success was revealing to students that the vast majority of their peer group were prepared to wait before entering into a sexual relationship, and ensuring that those who had chosen not to wait knew exactly where to seek advice and support in staying safe and healthy.

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