PSHE has a “positive impact on academic attainment”, according to review

  PSHE has a “positive impact on academic attainment”, according to review

An evidence review by Pro Bono Economics has shown ‘very strong evidence’ that high-quality PSHE learning ‘has a positive impact on academic attainment’.

This latest evidence has prompted campaigners to reiterate their call for statutory status to raise quality in all schools, for all pupils.

The review shows that PSHE education significantly benefits young people’s academic success, particularly if they come from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The independent review – produced by expert economists from a number of government departments, volunteering through Pro Bono Economics – examined national and international evidence.

Its aim was to determine the degree to which PSHE’s impact on students’ health – both physical and mental – and behaviour might lead to greater academic attainment and improved life chances in adulthood.

The review covers over 1,200 studies and reveals that PSHE programmes are effective in developing social and emotional skills, supporting emotional wellbeing, improving physical health, and tackling bullying.

The evidence then links these positive outcomes to improved academic attainment: by helping young people to be healthier, happier and safer, PSHE enables them to do better in school.

The evidence suggests that PSHE education also directly supports young people in succeeding academically, particularly if they are socio-economically disadvantaged. It does this by developing skills and attributes such as confidence and positive risk-taking, which enable young people to excel.

PSHE education is currently a ‘non-statutory’ school curriculum subject and Ofsted estimates that 40 per cent of schools are not yet teaching it well enough.

To address this, a coalition of leading children’s organisations, parents, teaching unions and young people are calling on the government to ensure that PSHE is granted statutory status in line with other subjects.

In March, the government announced plans to consult on making the subject statutory, making this Pro Bono Economics’ report especially timely.

Diane Coyle, Pro Bono Economics Trustee and professor of economics at the University of Manchester, said: “This report summarises the positive impact on academic attainment, including through benefits to physical health, mental health and behaviour, all of which greatly affect students not just in the classroom, but continue to benefit them in their adult life.

“The value of this Pro Bono Economics report is to establish from the literature the evidence that PSHE is effective in these respects”

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