Historically, Physical and Social Education (PSE) has been perceived as ‘the poor relation’ of some of the more ‘mainstream’ subject areas like literacy, numeracy, science and history. According to Daf Baker curriculum development specialist at Agored Cymru, says:
“Many schools deliver excellent PSE. One of the reasons for its perceived lack of prominence is that for many years PSE is expressed through the basic curriculum and is a non-statutory curriculum area.
“However, recent reports from workforce experts support the view that progressive PSE is essential for preparing young people for the world of work as greater importance is being given to the use of technology and artificial intelligence (AI) rather than more ‘traditional’ skills.
“Due to these changes, experts feel that young people need to develop core skills that technology, machines and AI have trouble replicating such as communication skills, using empathy, and skills which develop and enhance relationships between people. Such skills and knowledge are taught as part of effective PSE in schools but the importance of PSE must be communicated across the school for there to be a full appreciation of how it supports the school and its pupils.
“Welsh education is undergoing a huge evolution. The Curriculum for Wales developments, based on the recommendations from the Donaldson Report, are underway with Pioneer Schools leading on the six key areas of learning and experience (AoLE).
“The new PSE curriculum will be embedded across all of the AoLEs with a particular focus on the Health and Wellbeing AoLE. This will move the non-statutory, non-compulsory status of PSE into the national curriculum, a move that is exciting and revolutionary, giving PSE the same status as, for example, the Humanities and Modern Foreign Languages.
“An example of such developments includes the Welsh Government’s Expert Panel review of sex and relationships education (SRE). This review is now complete and all of the recommendations have been formally accepted by the Welsh Government including the inclusive name change of SRE to Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE).
“In addition, to support these changes and the emerging curriculum needs of learners in Wales, Agored Cymru has developed a range of Level 1 and Level 2 PSE qualifications (all of which have GCSE equivalencies) which schools can use to support the delivery of PSE and qualification attainment.
“The ‘gold-standard’ for the roll-out of PSE is to embed it across all of the AoLEs. For example, the history of women’s rights could be explored through history within the Humanities AoLE.
“However, whilst embedding PSE across the curriculum is highlighted as ‘sector-leading’ practice, we need to be cautious.
“Implementing a whole-school approach requires a serious commitment and buy-in from all senior leaders and teachers. Equally, PSE learning objectives need to have parity alongside other subject areas, an issue that has prevailed for many years within schools and education providers. The Curriculum for Wales developments will finally provide this parity.”
Change can and will happen. It just takes time, commitment and collaboration.
To find out more about how Agored Cymru Forward with Schools Service can support delivery of PSE in schools contact Daf.Baker@agored.cymru or click here