Overview

The Department for Education are consulting on draft guidance created to enable schools to deliver Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education.

From September 2020, all schools across primary and secondary will be required to teach Relationships Education, and all secondary schools will be required to teach Sex Education. All maintained schools (both primary and secondary) will be required to teach Health Education. Schools may accommodate this within existing PSHE curriculum if there is already provision this.

The consultation is open for teachers, young people, parents and carers, young people, voluntary and community organisations and any other interested organisation or individual.

The introduction of this compulsory education presents a fantastic opportunity for schools to further embed social action within their curriculum. Learning about health, wellbeing and positive relationships through social action allows young people to grow their understanding through first-hand experience, for example working with health, care or leisure organisations in their community, whilst giving back and making a positive difference to others.

We would encourage #iwill partners, and #iwill ambassadors, to draw links to where social action can support in the delivery of this education, when responding to the consultation.

What are the links between health and wellbeing and social action?

We know social action embedded in education is not only a valuable way to build character and skills in young people, but also to support improved wellbeing and health (both mental and physical).

There are clear links between young people taking part in social action and improved wellbeing and mental health;

  • The Ipsos Mori- run National Youth Social Action Survey, which annually carries out face-to-face interviews with young people across the UK aged 10-20, has consistently shown that social action is associated with increased life satisfaction and improved levels of well-being.
  • Randomised Controlled Trials of youth social action programmes carried out by the Behavioural Insights Team in partnership with the Cabinet Office in 2016, showed that young people reported reduced anxiety by over a fifth.

Many of the young #iwill Ambassadors speak passionately about how their social action has improved their wellbeing, take a look at this blog for World Mental Health Day 2018.

Social action also has the capacity to combat social isolation, support community cohesion, and promote being physically active. Look at case studies from Middlesbrough FC Foundation and Victoria Academy.

Responding to the consultation

Feel free to use the lines drafted below, or shape your own using your own experience and the insight above.

For more support in responding to the consultation and to learn more about RSE and Health education, visit #iwill partners, and supporting organisations PHSE Association, Brook and Stonewall. Read more about how social action can embed a culture of wellbeing: The Schools of Wellbeing, Jenny Hulme.

Five lines to include:

Q11 and Q14:

We welcome the reference to social action as a way for pupils to learn about positive relationships, develop resilience, virtues and improve health and wellbeing. The guidance should acknowledge that planned social action opportunities can be embedded within the curriculum as well as undertaken as extra-curricular activity, as part of the whole-school approach. Planned opportunities should be designed and delivered by and with pupils.

Q17:

The guidance should be stronger where it encourages teachers to talk about the benefits of practicing service to others as a way to lead a healthy lifestyle. The guidance should encourage teachers and schools to embed social action opportunities within the curriculum as part of the whole-school approach.

When taking part in curriculum-embedded social action, for example as health champions encouraging peers and their communities to live healthier lifestyle, pupils learn directly of the health and wellbeing benefits of taking part, develop their skills and are supported to create a habit of service. Randomised Controlled Trials of youth social action programmes carried out by the Behavioural Insights Team in partnership with the Cabinet Office in 2016, showed that young people reported reduced anxiety by over a fifth.

 

Q19:

The guidance should be stronger where it suggests pupils should know about the contribution practicing service to others can make to overall wellbeing. The guidance should encourage teachers and schools to embed social action opportunities within the curriculum as part of the whole-school approach.

When taking part in curriculum-embedded social action, for example as health champions encouraging peers and their communities to live healthier lifestyle, pupils learn directly of the health and wellbeing benefits of taking part, develop their skills and are supported to create a habit of service. The Ipsos Mori- run National Youth Social Action Survey, which annually carries out face-to-face interviews with young people across the UK aged 10-20, has consistently shown that social action is associated with increased life satisfaction and improved levels of well-being.

Q24:

The guidance should be more explicit on the importance of schools and teachers engaging pupils when shaping the whole-school approach to delivering education on relationships, sex and health, to ensure that pupil voice is heard. Schools can engage their pupils through the student council, by recruiting young governors, through focus groups and/or participatory workshops which allow them to have their say.

 

Read the draft guidance and submit your response to the consultation here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/pshe/relationships-education-rse-health-education/