Deputy Children’s Commissioner supports high quality PSHE

Today we have been down to the Sex Education Forum. The focus of the meeting was the current hot potato of pornography and new technology. We were lucky enough to have a presentation from the Deputy Children’s Commissioner, Sue Berelowitz on the recently published report ‘Basically….porn is everywhere’.

Sue was very clear that although PSHE is still not a statutory subject ‘All schools should deliver SRE and ensure that staff are well trained to do so’. She advocated a whole school approach that included a full curriculum component, and which was not reliant on theme days of short bursts of input. The report leaves many questions unanswered, and whilst Sue discussed the evidence showing a correlation between young people viewing violent pornography and partaking in sexually violent or abusive behaviours, she did point out the difficulties of extending the research in the future to investigate the influence of pornography on the causality of such behaviours.

The report recommends:

1.The Department for Education should ensure that all schools understand the importance of, and deliver, effective relationship and sex education which must include safe use of the internet.

2. The Department for Education should ensure curriculum content on relationships and sex education covers access and exposure to pornography, and sexual practices that are relevant to young people’s lives and experiences, as a means of building young people’s resilience.

3. The Department for Education should rename ‘sex and relationships education’ (SRE) to ‘relationships and sex education’ (RSE) to place emphasis on the importance of developing healthy, positive, respectful relationships.

4. The Government, in partnership with internet service providers, should embark on a national awareness-raising campaign, underpinned by further research, to better inform parents, professionals and the public at large about the content of pornography and young people’s access of, and exposure to such content.

5. Through the commitments made to better protect girls and young women from gender-based violence in the ending violence against women and girls action plan, the Home Office and the Department for Education should commission further research into the safeguarding implications of exposure and/or access to pornography on children and young people, particularly in relation to their experiences of teenage relationship abuse and peer exploitation.

6. The Home Office should incorporate the findings of this report into the ongoing teen abuse campaign. Future activity on this workstream should reflect young people’s exposure to violent sexualised imagery within their peer groups and relationships.

The DfE will issue their response to the report on July 17th so we will let you know more then.

You can read the full report at


Parliamentary group call for guaranteed PSHE

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Children held an inquiry during the 2012/13 parliamentary year into the question “Are children and young people getting the opportunities they want?”
The inquiry was based around five meetings each focusing on different aspects of children and young people’s lives and aspirations, including: education; good health; good relationships; financial security and opportunity; and freedom and respect. The report found that too many children and young people are being affected by the economic downturn and are failing to get the opportunities they need across health, education, asserting their rights and pursuing their futures.
It is encouraging that PSHE was highlighted in one of the report recommendations
‘Schools should ensure that they offer a range of personalised, tailored, flexible support with an appropriate focus on developing children and young people’s communication skills, and should ensure that children and young people have guaranteed access to Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education ‘.

There is clearly a lot of support out there for PSHE and certainly a sense that, more than ever, high quality PSHE vital for children and young people to make sense of the world they are growing up in. PSHE might not be a statutory subject, but that doesn’t mean it should be allowed to be lost or allowed squeezed out of the curriculum.

Read the full report full report here

Young peoples’ photography competition


The theme for this year is ‘Hope’ and the competition is open to anyone under 19 years
Deadline: 1st September 2013
One photo per entrant
How to enter
Simply email your chosen shot as a high res jpeg with a caption to
Please provide your age, gender, ethnicity and email address. You must be a UK resident to enter. Entries will be shown in an exhibition as part of the wellbeing projects youth suicide awareness film launch at the Birmingham Crescent Theatre, 30 September 2013, 6‐9 pm. The winner will receive an iPad mini and there will be two runners‐up prizes.

Weekly update of info and resources to support your PSHE

Resources and information to support your drug education
A new website has just been launched by the Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service (more briefly known as ADEPIS). Funded by the Department for Education, this aims to help schools and colleges be more confident both in providing good drug education and in the wider work they do to provide a protective environment. Visit the site at

One of the first things EDEPIS want to do is to find out more about what schools would like from them. You could help by completing a brief survey, which is being run by the PSHE Association on behalf of Mentor. The survey and can be completed within 10 minutes. As an added incentive, anyone who completes the survey and agrees to participate in a short follow-up interview of around 15 minutes (only a small proportion of these will actually be contacted) will be eligible for entry into a prize draw. The prize will be a choice of either PSHE Association CPD training or £125 of vouchers for sports equipment for your school.

Child safety week
The week beginning June 24th is Child Safety week, and this year has the theme of ‘Be a safety hero’. The message this year is you don’t need to be superhuman to be a safety hero – it is the small things that can stop children suffering serious harm.
The aim of the week is to raise awareness of serious childhood accidents and how to prevent them without wrapping children in cotton wool. You can access a host of free resources to help your school get involved. More info and the resources are available at

Children’s Mental Health Bulletin
Public Health England in partnership with YoungMinds publish a monthly summary of articles and information on children’s psychological and emotional well-being and mental health. There is a wealth of interesting reading here for all professionals working with children and young people.
The June edition includes
• Self harm first aid advice launch
• Why family conflict affects some children more than others?
• The role of siblings in children’s mental health
• Childhood bullying increases the propensity to self-harm during adolescence

Click here to access the bulletin

Our sparkling new prospectus of in-school and centre based training and support

HES Prospectus 2013-15 V4

All of us at the HES are delighted to share with you our brand new prospectus of training and support. As always we can deliver our professional development in individual schools or at central events (dates of these are here).

Training Dates 2013-14

Our support covers primary and secondary PSHE, drug education, citizenship, relationships and sex education, emotional health and well-being, food education and safeguarding.

We hope that you find what you need here – if not then tell us about it. If you want further information please email me at

News round up

It has been a quieter week, but some really interesting (and alarming) findings from the British Nutrition Foundation on childrens ideas on where food comes from, and an interesting study on the link between attainment and emotional health and well-being.

Do fish fingers really come from pigs?
Almost a third of UK primary pupils think cheese is made from plants and a quarter think fish fingers come from chicken or pigs, suggests a survey.
Nearly one in 10 secondary pupils thinks tomatoes grow under ground, according to the poll for the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF).
Some 27,500 five-to-16-year-olds were questioned last month.
The charity says the figures prove the need for better teaching about cooking and healthy eating.
The survey also revealed confusion about the source of staples such as pasta and bread among younger pupils, with about a third of five-to-eight-year-olds believing that they are made from meat.
About 19% of this age group did not realise that potatoes grew under ground, with 10% thinking they grew on bushes or trees.
The survey, produced to coincide with the BNF’s healthy-eating week, also revealed that more than three-quarters (77%) of primary school children and nearly nine in 10 (88%) secondary pupils knew that people should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
However, most fail to do this themselves – with 67% of primary pupils and 81% of secondary students saying they eat four or fewer portions a day.
Full report at

‘We’ve gone backwards’: Vulnerable schoolchildren require ‘emotional teaching’ professor claims
Vulnerable children are being left isolated by schools who do not promote wellbeing in their youngsters, according to research undertaken by the University of Manchester.
Data from across the world was analysed by Neil Humphrey, a professor of psychology of education, who looked at social and emotional learning (SEL) in primary schools.
His research found that attainment, discipline and mental health were all impacted upon by approaches to lessons and extracurricular work, including anti bullying campaigns.
With many UK schools abandoning SEL due to the coalition government’s policy, Professor Humphrey believes this could have a profound effect on vulnerable pupils.
“Because of the coalition’s obsession with academic scores and testing, we’ve now gone backwards,” he said. “It’s a disaster for those vulnerable pupils politicians claim they aim to support.
“School is a place that should provide a secure and safe environment for all children, especially those with mental health issues or difficult social backgrounds.
Evidence suggests teaching social and emotional skills in childhood can prevent problems further down the line, particularly for pupils whose family and community backgrounds may place them at risk
“If social and emotional learning is properly implemented, especially at primary school level, then the effects can be profound because children are in a better position to learn,” Professor Humphrey added.
His current work involves undertaking a major study in primary schools involving more than 5,000 Manchester schoolchildren, based upon a similar American scheme.
Recent research from United States shows that positive SEL can improve children’s academic scores by up to 11%, highlighting its importance.
SEL is particularly important to children from challenged backgrounds but Professor Humphrey is keen to highlight that it needs to be provided to all.
John McDougall
Full article available at

Finally, some data on patterns of smoking and the resulting health effects. Could be a useful trigger to get young people thinking about tobacco.