How to Follow Development Matters in PSHE

Written by Dan

Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education is an essential part of a child’s learning journey. Implementing Development Matters in PSHE helps educators support children’s personal, social, and emotional development.

This article discusses how to follow Development Matters in PSHE by understanding its importance, navigating the curriculum framework and planning, and exploring effective teaching methods.


PSHE education is crucial in preparing children for the opportunities, challenges, and responsibilities they will face in later life.

Following Development Matters in PSHE allows educators to create a tailored and engaging curriculum that supports children’s wellbeing while fostering personal development.

By incorporating a comprehensive curriculum framework and best practices, teachers can ensure students receive quality education that produces well-rounded individuals.

Key Takeaways

  • Development Matters provides guidance on supporting children’s personal, social, and emotional development in PSHE.
  • Navigating the curriculum framework and planning effectively helps educators create a tailored and engaging programme.
  • Implementing best practices and teaching methods in PSHE fosters personal development and wellbeing for students.

Understanding PSHE and Its Importance

Defining PSHE and Its Objectives

Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education is a vital component of the school curriculum that focuses on the development of essential life skills and knowledge in students.

Its primary objective is to equip them with the necessary tools to cope with everyday social, emotional, health and economic challenges.

PSHE education can cover many topics, including emotional wellbeing, physical health, academic attainment, and preparation for work .

Statutory Requirements for PSHE

It is essential to understand that although PSHE is a non-statutory subject, some aspects are compulsory in schools, such as relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education.

This means that schools must provide a certain level of PSHE education for their students, and there are guidelines that must be followed. An effective PSHE programme should ideally include at least an hour of dedicated curriculum time each week.

To ensure the effectiveness of their PSHE offering, schools should develop a bespoke PSHE policy. A successful policy will clearly outline where PSHE education fits within the broader curriculum offer.

The Role of Development Matters in PSHE

Development Matters is a framework specifically designed for early years education in the UK. It provides a comprehensive approach to children’s personal, social and emotional development in their foundational years.

Although Development Matters does not exclusively focus on PSHE, it plays a crucial role in supporting the goals and objectives of PSHE education.

By integrating PSHE education with the guidelines provided by Development Matters, schools can create a cohesive and well-rounded programme that addresses students’ personal and social growth.

This will ensure that all learners have an equal opportunity to develop the essential skills and knowledge needed to thrive in today’s complex and ever-evolving world.

Overall, the alignment of Development Matters with PSHE education ensures a consistent and comprehensive approach to meeting the unique needs of every child in schools across the UK.

PSHE Curriculum Framework and Planning

Curriculum Design for Effective Learning

When planning a PSHE education programme, it is essential to establish a comprehensive curriculum framework that incorporates effective learning sequences.

The PSHE Association offers a Programme of Study to support schools in designing their schemes of work across all key stages. This framework ensures that appropriate content is covered, while also aligning with statutory requirements and the needs of the students.

A well-designed curriculum will:

  • Clearly outline the learning objectives and outcomes for each key stage
  • Develop students’ knowledge and understanding, while building upon prior learning
  • Be adapted to suit the specific needs of different learners, such as those with SEND
  • Incorporate a variety of learning experiences, including individual and group work, practical activities, and discussions

It is important to allocate sufficient time to plan and review the PSHE curriculum, ensuring that content is delivered effectively and in a coherent sequence.

Incorporating Statutory Content in PSHE

PSHE education must include statutory content as mandated by the government.

This involves incorporating elements such as the Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education to ensure students receive the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate various aspects of life.

In order to integrate statutory content, schools can:

  1. Identify the relevant statutory guidance and incorporate it into their PSHE curriculum
  2. Map out the statutory content across each key stage, ensuring that there is a clear progression of learning
  3. Evaluate existing schemes of work to determine how they can be adapted to align with statutory requirements
  4. Regularly review lesson plans and resources to ensure that they effectively deliver the mandated content

By combining the PSHE Association’s Programme of Study with the statutory content, school leaders can create a well-rounded and comprehensive PSHE curriculum that supports their students’ personal, social, health, and economic development.

Teaching Methods and Best Practice

Adopting Evidence-Based Pedagogy

In order to follow Development Matters in PSHE, it is essential to adopt evidence-based pedagogy methods.

This means aligning your teaching approaches with well-researched practices that have proven to be successful in delivering PSHE education.

Using a combination of techniques, such as collaborative learning, scaffolding, and explicit instruction, ensures that students are actively engaged in the learning process, making it more effective.

To stay updated with the latest research and best practices in PSHE education, professionals should engage in continuous professional development (CPD).

A good starting point would be the PSHE Association’s Professional Development Framework, which provides guidance on building skills and knowledge crucial for effective PSHE education.

Utilising Resources and Assessment Effectively

Incorporating a variety of learning resources can greatly enhance the PSHE learning experience. The PSHE Association offers useful guidance and tools to help teach PSHE education, ensuring that lessons are engaging, informative, and well-organised.

The materials provided include lesson plans, activities, and teaching resources that support a personalised curriculum and a safe, supportive learning environment.

It is equally important to monitor and evaluate PSHE education using effective assessment methods.

Assessments should be used to identify areas of strength, areas for development, and set targets for future progression. Tools such as editable templates, frameworks, and self-assessment criteria can help teachers in the accurate evaluation of students’ progress.

In summary, following Development Matters in PSHE education requires adopting proven pedagogical approaches, engaging in continuous professional development, and effectively utilising teaching resources and assessment methods.

By following these strategies, teachers can help their students develop essential life skills and foster healthy attitudes.

Fostering Personal Development and Wellbeing

Personal development, health and wellbeing are essential components in the PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) education curriculum as they contribute significantly to a student’s confidence, independence, and resilience.

This section focuses on two subsections that highlight the impact of PSHE education in these areas.

Promoting Health and Wellbeing through PSHE

PSHE plays a vital role in promoting health and wellbeing among students. Through engaging lessons and activities, students learn and understand various health-related topics such as physical activity, mental health, and nutrition.

Developing a healthy lifestyle is crucial for young people, and PSHE helps them make informed choices and develop good habits for their future. By fostering healthy behaviour, PSHE helps students build self-esteem, improve emotional wellbeing, and enhance their ability to cope with stress.

PSHE’s Contribution to Personal Safety and Resilience

Personal safety and resilience are other essential aspects addressed in PSHE education. Through tailored lessons, PSHE supports students to identify risks and understand the importance of managing them effectively. This involves discussions and activities on topics such as:

  • Online safety
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Substance misuse
  • Sexual exploitation

Through these lessons, students build their confidence and acquire critical thinking skills to navigate potential risks in various situations.

Furthermore, PSHE education provides students with the tools to develop their emotional resilience, helping them overcome challenges and adapt to changes in their lives more effectively.

By empowering students with these skills, PSHE education ensures they can face future challenges with confidence and ultimately lead more fulfilled lives.

Leadership, Management, and Professional Development

The Role of School Leadership in PSHE

Effective leadership and management are essential to implement Development Matters in PSHE education successfully. School leaders must ensure that a comprehensive and coherent programme is in place, addressing the needs of all pupils.

Leaders must monitor the quality and consistency of PSHE teaching regularly. This can be achieved through lesson observations, work scrutiny, and feedback from teachers and pupils.

Leaders must also engage the whole school community, including parents and external agencies, to support the development of a well-rounded PSHE programme.

Continuous Professional Development for Educators

Providing Continuous Professional Development (CPD) opportunities for educators ensures that they stay up to date with current teaching practices and acquire the relevant skills to teach PSHE effectively. CPD can take various forms, such as:

  • External training: Teachers can attend workshops, conferences, or online courses that focus on PSHE education content, pedagogy, and resources. An example is the Effective Leadership and Management in PSHE course by the PSHE Association.
  • School-based training: School leaders can organise training sessions led by experienced PSHE education professionals or utilise existing staff expertise.
  • Peer-to-peer support: Establishing a network of PSHE teachers within the school or across local schools allows the sharing of best practices, ideas, and resources.

Educators should be encouraged to self-assess their PSHE teaching skills and use this information to identify areas for improvement and suitable CPD opportunities.

By engaging in ongoing professional development, teachers can ensure that their practice remains inclusive, engaging, and effective in supporting the well-being and personal development of all pupils.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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