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Safe remote learning in PSHE education: advice from the PSHE Association


The PSHE Association has created a guide to teaching PSHE remotely, which not only includes valuable advice on what can be safely covered at home but also topics that should be avoided. 

Topics that can work well for remote/home learning at this time could include the following:

  • Strategies for preventing infection
  • Ways of promoting positive mental health and emotional well-being
  • Sleep and good sleep habits
  • Balancing time online with other activities
  • Managing online friendships and social media
  • Maintaining healthy eating habits and physical activity
  • Study and revision skills
  • Careers education
  • Shared responsibilities in caring for others. 

However, not all PSHE education topics are appropriate to deliver remotely. The PSHE Association would, therefore, strongly advise you to carefully consider whether a topic is safe to be addressed remotely or through home learning before setting any work in PSHE education for a number of reasons:

  • Many topics covered in PSHE education are complex and sometimes sensitive. Pupils should engage with such topics in discussions and activities facilitated by a teacher, within a safe classroom environment
  • Researching certain PSHE education topics can lead pupils to access websites that may be unreliable or even harmful
  • Learning in PSHE education should always take place within a carefully sequenced, developmental programme, which is far harder to achieve through setting activities to be completed over a period of time with no teacher input. 

Topics that should NOT be addressed through remote teaching or home learning for the reasons above include the following:

  • Unhealthy coping strategies, such as eating disorders and self-harm
  • Other mental health issues (other than ways of promoting positive mental and emotional well-being)
  • Abusive relationships and exploitation, FGM and forced marriage. 

If in doubt about whether work you are setting or planning to teach remotely is safe, consider the following questions: 

  • Might the topic be difficult for some pupils to discuss or learn about in the home environment?
  • Will this encourage or make it more likely that a pupil will go onto inappropriate or potentially harmful websites as a result of this lesson/activity?
  • Might any content cause distress or anxiety to pupils?
  • Might any content re-traumatise a pupil with personal experience of the topic?
  • Does the lesson/activity provide sufficient signposting to support currently available to pupils should they wish to discuss the topic further, make a disclosure, or get advice and help? 

You can find more information on support and resources from the PSHE Association here.

First published 02 April 2020