Foreword by the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills
The health and wellbeing of every child and young person is at the heart of Curriculum for Excellence. Children's mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing are widely recognised as the foundations of successful learning and are essential to closing the attainment gap. High quality learning and support in these areas are vital if we are to equip children and young people with the knowledge, skills and resilience they need to navigate the various stages of their lives and reach their full potential.
While the health and wellbeing of every child and young person is rightly the responsibility of all school staff, learning in health and wellbeing is largely taught through Personal and Social Education, or PSE. Learning in PSE should address the current issues affecting the lives of young people such as an understanding of consent and healthy relationships substance misuse education, how to manage their mental health, the impacts of social media and the importance of LGBT inclusion.
As well as learning in PSE, the health and wellbeing of every child and young person should be assisted by a network of support which includes pastoral guidance to ensure they get the right help at the right time in line with the Getting it right for every child approach. The responsiveness of our education system in deploying early interventions and targeting support is key if Scotland's children and young people are to grow up loved, safe and respected so that they can realise their full potential.
There are many excellent examples of PSE and pastoral care being delivered in our education system, but this government aims for excellence and equity for all. There is more we must do.
In March 2017, in recognition of its importance, this government announced as part of our Mental Health Strategy our intention to undertake a national review of PSE, the role of pastoral guidance in local authority schools and services for counselling for children and young people. Following extensive engagement, that review has now concluded. I would like to thank everyone who participated in this process. I am also grateful to the Scottish Parliament's Education and Skills and Equalities and Human Rights Committees for their work in this area. Their respective reports, Let's Talk About Personal and Social Education and It's not cool to be Cruel: Prejudice-based bullying and harassment of children and young people in schools, brought welcome insight and impetus to the review.
This report outlines our findings and the steps we will take to strengthen PSE delivery and the wider network of pastoral guidance. The sixteen recommendations provide clarity and focus to this important work. I am confident their delivery will ensure children's and young people's health and wellbeing remains at the heart of our education system. This is imperative if we are truly to transform the life chances of children and young people across this nation.
John Swinney MSP
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills
Email: Rachel Macpherson