News round up

Lots in the news this week which has implications for the emotional health of children and young people, and which feeds into the debate about what PSHE should or could include and the potential significance of PSHE to the whole safeguarding agenda. I have picked three articles that have come out this week which build upon some of the points raised by the recent Ofsted report (see earlier posts). Links to the full documents are included.

Basically… porn is everywhere
Urgent action to develop children’s resilience to pornography is needed according to a report for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, led by Middlesex University.
The research found that a significant number of children access pornography and that it influences their attitudes towards relationships and sex, is linked to risky behaviour such as having sex at a younger age and that there is a correlation between holding violent attitudes and accessing more violent media.
The report, launched on 24 May 2013 and titled ‘”Basically… porn is everywhere” – A Rapid Evidence Assessment on the Effects that Access and Exposure to Pornography has on Children and Young People,’ was led by Middlesex University. It found that:
• Children and young people’s exposure and access to pornography occurs both on and offline, but in recent years the most common method of access is via internet enabled technology
• Exposure and access to pornography increases with age
• Accidental exposure to pornography is more prevalent than deliberate access
• There are gender differences in exposure and access to pornography with boys more likely to be exposed to pornography than girls.
In addition, the report highlighted that there are many unanswered questions about the affect of exposure to pornography on children, which requires more research and urgent attention.
More info
Full report BasicallyporniseverywhereReport

Deeds or Words?
May 23rd saw the publication by End Violence Against Women (EVAW) of their wide ranging ‘Deeds or Words’ report. In the wake of a string of disturbing abuse cases (including the child sexual exploitation trials in Rochdale and Oxford, Jimmy Savile, Stuart Hall, Stuart Hazell), the report concludes that, whilst there is good work in some areas of government, in other key areas the Government’s pledge is “virtually meaningless.” Expert contributors to the report, which has been sent to the Prime Minister, awarded the government just 2.5 out of 10 for work in this area.
A new YouGov opinion poll was published alongside the report which found that 86% of UK adults believe that sex and relationships education “which addresses sexual consent and respectful relationships” should be compulsory in secondary schools. Currently it is not.
The poll also found that measures such as training teachers to spot the signs of abuse, proactively tackling sexual bullying and harassment, and prohibiting pornography in schools, are also popular with survey respondents.
Full report

Fear, isolation and discrimination common in Europe’s LGBT community -The experiences of over 93,000 LGBT people from all across the European Union
The EU’s largest LGBT hate crime and discrimination survey ever conducted shows that many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people cannot be themselves in their daily lives. Many hide their identity and live in isolation or even fear.
Some of the difficulties many LGBT people face include:
Schooling: 2 out of 3 LGBT respondents were hiding or disguising being LGBT at school. At least 60% personally experienced negative comments or conduct at school because they were LGBT while over 80% in every EU Member State recall negative comments or bullying of LGBT youth at school. Therefore, Member States need to ensure LGBT students feel safe at school as this is where negative LGBT experiences, societal prejudices and exclusion often begin. This could include LGBT awareness campaigns for teachers and pupils and policies against homophobic bullying.

Full summary European LGBT survey

Useful link

For in-school or centeralised training on how your school can address these issues click here


Lots to think about!


54 primary teachers and heads attended Niall’s two briefings this week on the future for PSHE following the curriculum reviews. There was a lot to consider as schools add the changes to the science curriculum, DfE guidance, the recent PSHE report from Ofsted and good practice recommendations from the PSHE Association and Sex Education Forum, into the mix of what needs to be done. There is a really strong emphasis on the need for schools to develop localised curriculum – and where this works best is where the views of pupils, parents and staff are all interwoven. Also the value of high quality PSHE to a schools approach to safeguarding and SMSC was a key point to take back to settings where PSHE might risk becoming marginalised.

We talked about the new Ofsted report and here is a handy two side summary (the full report is several postings down this blog). We have also incorporated a quick tool to get the discussion going in your school by auditing where you think you are against the Ofsted characteristics of outstanding PSHE. Ofsted 2013 summary

The online SMSC and PSHE audit tool was mentioned, and for those who want to see what this looks like and how you use it, here is a link to a video clip.

Finally we have set the dates for our course programme next year (including safeguarding). There are some more to come, but for the time being click on this link to see what is on offer.

PBs at Wilkes Green Infants

Have a look at these photos taken at Wilkes Green Infant School.
These lovely displays were produced by the children as a result of the Protective Behaviours work being done in the school.
Four of the staff from Wilkes Green Infant School have completed the Foundation Level Protective Behaviours training and have been introducing it across the school over the last 12 months – it’s now an integral part of their curriculum and their school ethos.
The photos show the children’s responses to ‘the right to feel safe’, language of feelings and networks and it is great to hear the school report how quickly the children have started to understand the value of their feelings and the feelings of others and the importance of talking about feelings.
The Foundation level training is a 2 day course and over 100 staff in schools across Birmingham have completed this training. What have they said about it?
“Just what we needed – a way forward of working with our vulnerable pupils coupled with a powerful ethos of safety”
“Perfect to use at school to support all of our pupils”
“ An excellent course….I will use this every day”
“Thank you for 2 of the best training days I have ever been to!!”
Protective Behaviours aims to build resilience in children by teaching them the skills to recognise their own internal measure of safety and the strategies to act if they don’t feel safe. It is also available in half and one day formats either at an introductory level or linked to bullying, inappropriate behaviour, risk taking and other areas of well-being. Further down the blog Liz explains more about the protective behaviours approach.

Concerns about Drug Education Group

A group called Drug- Free UK is currently touring the UK going into schools to give ‘lectures’. They are due to visit Birmingham this week. None of the group’s website or literature openly states that all the people involved with Drug-Free UK are scientologists. The group is funded and run by scientology.

Drug-Free UK is not a registered charity and is not endorsed by any reputable anti- drug organisations. Scientology’s Narconon ‘anti-drugs programmes’ are not endorsed by the medical profession in the UK and in the USA they are being investigated for fraud and a number of other concerns. A ‘Big Brother star’ is involved in this campaign in UK Schools.

Schools are free to choose any organisation to come in and help support and enrich their curriculum delivery but it is essential that all outside agencies adhere to the school’s policies and procedures and enhance the ethos of the school

Further action
Schools and education services are encouraged to contact the HES if they have any concerns. The HES has been a regional centre of excellence in drug education and managing drug related incidents in schools for the past 20 years and we have helped to support schools to develop effective drug education.

Sources of Information, advice and training

Health Education Service. For information and advice concerning training, please contact Kathy Bird or Tony Ayers, 0121 366 9955 or or

New Ofsted report into PSHE Education

Ofsted have published today their latest subject inspection report on PSHE Education. It makes interesting reading particularly as it covers the period when many of the supports and levers for PSHE have disappeared. Overall, Ofsted found learning in PSHE education was good or better in 60% of schools and required improvement or was inadequate in 40%. This indicates that the quality of PSHE education is not yet good enough in a sizeable proportion of schools in England.

Some of the key findings were:

• Sex and relationships education required improvement in over a third of schools. In primary schools this was because too much emphasis was placed on friendships and relationships, leaving pupils ill-prepared for physical and emotional changes during puberty. In secondary schools it was because too much emphasis was placed on ‘the mechanics’ of reproduction and too little on relationships, sexuality, the influence of pornography on students’ understanding of healthy sexual relationships, dealing with emotions and staying safe.

• Lack of high-quality, age-appropriate sex and relationships education may leave children and young people vulnerable to inappropriate sexual behaviours and sexual exploitation. This is because they have not been taught the appropriate language or developed the confidence to describe unwanted behaviours or know where to go to for help.

• In just under half of schools, pupils had received lessons about staying safe but few had developed the skills to effectively apply their understanding, such as the assertiveness skills to stand up for themselves and negotiate their way through difficult situations. Pupils understood the importance of applying security settings on social networking sites but did not always know how to set them or had not bothered to do so.

• Most pupils understood the dangers to health of tobacco and illegal drugs but were less aware of the physical and social damage associated with alcohol misuse, including personal safety.

• Approximately one third of respondents to the online survey wanted to learn how to deal with mental health issues such as coping with stress, bereavement and eating disorders.

• By far the weakest aspect of teaching was the assessment of pupils’ learning which was often less robust for PSHE education than for other subjects. In too many schools, teachers did not check or build on pupils’ previous knowledge which resulted in them repeating topics, and they had lower expectations of the quality of pupils’ work in PSHE education than for the same pupils in other subjects. Where the curriculum was strong it built on pupils’ previous knowledge both in PSHE education lessons and in other subjects.

Lots of interesting points about what is good practice and what pupils want from their PSHE lessons. Also they make the point  that there is a close correlation between the grades that the schools in the survey were awarded for overall effectiveness in their last section 5 inspection, and their grade for PSHE education. It is encouraging also that the report recommendations include for the Department for Education to give clear messages to schools about the importance of PSHE education and promote continuing professional development in PSHE education and in PSHE education subject leadership. You can download the full report from here. Not yet good enough personal_ social_ health and economic education in schools