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What is PSHEE?

Most of PSHEE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) became statutory in September 2020 under the Children and Social Work Act.

The Act introduced compulsory Relationships Education in primary schools and compulsory Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in secondary schools (i.e. from Year 7). Health Education (both mental and physical) became statutory from Key Stages 1 to 4. This brought all schools more in line with independent schools who were already required to teach PSHEE.

At DH, these areas have long been covered in many different areas of school life including at assemblies, during Form Time and within individual subjects. Our Leadership programme is a very important part of the whole, as are visits from outside speakers.

As a family school, we value the home/school partnership and areas where this is probably most important are those covered by PSHEE.

It is for this reason that we invite experts to come and speak to children and parents on these topics.

Laura White from `It Happens’ visited us for the second time this year and was building on the work she did with the children last term. She spends a great deal of time talking to Laura Hutchings in order to ensure that the tone and content of her talks is suitable for DH children.

During her talk for parents, she discussed how these topics were covered in the past and how often there were embarrassing or negative conversations with abstract analogies being used. This form of education was, on the whole, a case of too little, too late, too scientific or non-existent

Her focus is on empowering children to make good choices, including around consent.

Evidence and data are used to establish facts and to help children to spot reliable or unreliable information and `fake news’.

The `Everyone’s Invited’ website precipitated conversations in all schools about attitudes to behaviours and children are encouraged to speak to trusted adults about anything they find uncomfortable and to know that they will be believed.

Of course, situations are far more likely to arise at senior schools but by making sure children know that they will be listened to if they have any issues from a young age, we are giving them to tools to navigate any issues which might arise later on.

Teenage emotions can mean risk taking and so it is important to encourage children to articulate how/what they are feeling. They also need to understand that their feelings can change and be encouraged to think about the consequences of their actions. This applies to situations online and `in real life’.

Much of what Laura said was echoed by Karl Hopwood, our e-Safety expert who has been visiting DH for 10 years now.

Both advised talking to children whilst driving the car or out on a walk and keeping a dialogue going from a young age rather than waiting for `the big conversation’

Karl always offers a calm and pragmatic view of the online world and gives great advice on ways in which we can keep children safe.

He says that technology is not the problem, it is behaviour and so this is what we need to tackle.

In his talk, points out that even if your child is not using technology at home, they may well use it at friends’ houses and social media platforms are certain to be topics of conversation at school.

  • Remind children that he says: `the Internet never forgets’
  • Don’t over-react – you want your children to keep talking to you. (Some children don’t report things which have happened online as they fear their phone or tablet will be confiscated)
  • If you allow your child to have a social media account, make sure it is set up using their true age as fake ages can attract inappropriate targeted content being received

Both Laura and Karl remarked on how extraordinarily open and responsive Dorset House children are and they visit a huge number of schools each year

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