Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
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Personal, social, health and economic education requires improvement in English schools

Yesterday, Ofsted published ‘Not yet good enough’, a report which evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education and makes recommendations on how the subject can be taught well in English schools.

The report, which was based on evidence from 50 maintained schools and an online survey of 178 young people, found PSHE education was good or better in 60 per cent of schools but required improvement or was inadequate in 40 per cent.

The ‘Not yet good enough’ report highlights that the weakest aspects of teaching PSHE are the assessment of how well pupils have understood what they are taught and planning for new work. In too many schools, teachers did not check or build on pupils’ previous knowledge, which resulted in them repeating topics. Teachers also had low expectations of the quality of work done by pupils.

In primary schools, the report says, too much emphasis is placed on friendships and relationships when teaching sex and relationships education and this can leave pupils ill-prepared for the physical and emotional changes of puberty. In secondary schools, too much emphasis is placed on the ‘mechanics’ of reproduction rather than on the importance of healthy sexual relationships.

The report also shares several examples of good practice.

The report is published on the Ofsted website and was based on evidence from the inspections of 24 primary schools, 24 secondary schools and two special schools across all English regions between January and July 2012.

Notes to Editors:

1. The report Personal, social, health and economic education in schools: not yet good enough can be found on the Ofsted website at:
www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/not-yet-good-enough-personal-social-health-and-economic-education-schools

2. The findings of this report are based on evidence from the inspections of 24 primary schools, 24 secondary schools and two special schools across all English regions between January and July 2012.

3. The findings are supported by a ‘Your Say’ online survey conducted on behalf of Ofsted by Ipsos Mori during October and November 2012 of children and young people’s experiences and opinions of PSHE education. The ‘Your Say’ Children and Young People’s Panel received 178 responses from 11–18-year-olds in state schools and colleges across England.

4. The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children's social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.

5. Media can contact the Ofsted Press Office through 03000 130415 or via Ofsted's enquiry line 0300 1231231 between 8.30am - 6.00pm Monday - Friday. Out of these hours, during evenings and weekends, the duty press officer can be reached on 07919 057359. 

Associated resources

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