Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
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Steady improvement in personal, social and health education over the last five years

 The quality of personal, social and health education (PSHE) has improved steadily in the last five years but there is still some way to go to ensure that it meets the needs of all pupils, according to a new report from the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted).

Time for Change? Personal, social and health education, finds that pupils’ knowledge and understanding of PSHE has increased and the quality of teaching and learning has improved. Primary schools have been particularly successful in defining achievement in PSHE more broadly to include pupils’ attitudes and behaviour.     Secondary schools have further to go. There is still some poor lesson planning and assessment as well as a lack of space in the timetable for PSHE. Three quarters of secondary schools have developed specialist teams of teachers to teach PSHE successfully. However, PSHE is taught by non-specialists in some schools and too much of this teaching is unsatisfactory.

Young people reported that many parents and some teachers are not very good at talking about the more sensitive issues in PSHE, such as sex and relationships. Young people also want to talk about feelings and relationships as well as just biological facts. Inspectors found that teachers, governors and parents have not received sufficient guidance and support to help them talk to young people about sensitive issues.  Schools need to help parents to talk to their children about sensitive issues and can help by providing information about lesson content.

Some effective schools have established local drop-in centres that provide advice for teenagers.  These are often focused around the school nurse and provide a base for external support agencies. School communities and teenagers are served effectively by these centres and such provision is being enhanced by extended schools.