SHAPES for Schools
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Square One

Welcome to Square One, the education blog from SHAPES. We'll be looking at all things schools – from classroom resources to curriculum changes, to what teachers want and how you can help provide it.

How your business can plug the PSHE gap

You might’ve noticed that PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) education is top of the agenda at the moment. Here are a few things that are going on:

  • RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) will be compulsory in all secondary schools from 2019.
  • Teachers have been asked to have their say on the future of PSHE, including relationships and sex education, by responding to a DfE call-for-evidence by the 12th February.
  • In a recent survey by Mumsnet, 90% of parents agreed PSHE itself should be statutory in all schools.
  • Recent research carried out by volunteering charity Pro Bono Economics found that taking lessons in PSHE boosts children’s grades by helping pupils to become healthier, more confident and more willing to take risks.

Categoric evidence shows that well-delivered PSHE programmes have a massive impact on both academic and non-academic pupils – particularly the most disadvantaged.

Despite all of this, PSHE is still a huge grey area for schools, with teachers having to do the best they can with limited budget, training and resources.

It’s increasingly clear that external providers can have a huge part to play in plugging the gaps. As an example, we recently worked on a campaign with Penguin Books to get the new picture book from Malala Yousafzai into classrooms, using it as a stimulus for P4C (Philosophy for Children) and discussion around big Human Rights and PSHE issues.

Here are some of our tips for ensuring your educational business is perfectly placed in providing a solution to teachers’ needs:

Empower young people

Peer-led programmes are very appealing to teachers. Giving students the tools to deal with PSHE issues on a daily basis and empowering them to take the lead in educating their peers and parent community is a very engaging proposition. Make sure that your resource gives children the chance to take control.

Provide CPD

The best solutions are the ones that help schools to build up their in-house capacity to teach PSHE in an outstanding way. If you can offer a CPD element to your service, teachers can see that you are offering a long-term solution. In 20% of schools there is little or no staff training when it comes to PSHE, your expertise can help to fill it.

Make it cross-curricular

There is simply not enough time in the school day devoted to PSHE. Therefore, it’s crucial that teachers are able to build PSHE into other areas of the national curriculum. If your solution can help them to do this then it will be so much easier for schools to use your services.

Help students develop practical skills

A recent Ofsted report found that many students lack the skills required to apply what they learn to real-life situations. They understand the importance of being assertive in a job interview, for example, but they are unable to carry out or to practice this skill. For a good example of providing ‘real-life’ learning as a PSHE solution, take a look at Merlin Entertainments’ workshop programme, which encourages students to learn about key practical skills in running a huge entertainment company – from PR, to marketing, to customer service and administration.

Include assessment

Ofsted identified that the weakest aspect of PSHE provision in schools is the assessment of pupils’ learning, which was identified as far weaker than all other areas of the curriculum. Therefore, make sure that what you offer enables teachers to check or build on pupils’ previous knowledge and build in more rigorous assessment.

The PSHE gap in the curriculum means that there is an urgent need for external providers to play a pivotal role in PSHE education provision. If you think you are well equipped to make a real difference in the lives of young people in the UK, and help schools tackle the issues mentioned in this blog, then get in touch with us and we can help to shape bespoke content and marketing strategy for you.

Jenny Baldwin