Schools: personal and social education review

Review into PSE in schools, including pastoral care and counselling services.

The review is part of the Mental Health Strategy 2017 to 2027.

It focused on personal and social education (PSE) in schools and include consideration of pastoral care and guidance, as well as school counselling services.

The review was undertaken in three phases and was completed in January 2019.

Phase 1: Review communications and initial exploration of PSE teaching resources

Complete. See the attached document at the bottom of this page.

Phase 2: Thematic review of delivery of PSE in schools across Scotland

A review of PSE delivery in schools was undertaken by Education Scotland. They visited 10 early learning settings, 21 primary schools, 20 secondary schools and 4 special schools with good geographical spread across Scotland. The review explored and evaluated: 

  • the content of PSE programmes for children and young people from 3 to 18 years in Scottish schools and early learning centres
  • how these programmes are delivered and the quality of learning, achievement and progression
  • the effectiveness of the provision of the universal support entitlement and staged intervention for social, emotional and behavioural support
  • the effectiveness of pastoral guidance (including the roles of class teachers and pastoral care/guidance teachers) in supporting children and young people including what actions are taken to support onward transitions
  • in terms of health promotion, how positive mental health is encouraged, how issues are identified and, where they are needed, the extent specific counselling services are available for children and young people in schools, how these are delivered and their effectiveness
  • how the issue of sexual consent is taught within relationships, sexual health and parenthood (RSHP) education from early learning through all stages of school education
  • how learner engagement and co-design of PSE programmes is taken forward in schools
  • the extent to which equalities issues taught in PSE, teach children and young people about prejudice and promote an understanding of different groups of people

The Thematic Inspection Report has been published. 

Phase 3: Analysis of findings and development of recommendations

Phase 3 of the Review was a programme of engagement with key stakeholders. Engagement sessions were held with COSLA, ADES, local authorities, third sector organisations, teaching unions and faith groups. We also commissioned Young Scot to undertake targeted online engagement with young people and organised an engagement session in collaboration with Girlguiding Scotland.

See summaries of the engagement sessions and a link to the children and young people questionnaire results:

During this phase of the Review we also received written representations from a number of organisations and people. These can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.  

The purpose of the engagement was to inform consideration of a suite of final recommendations.

The final PSE Review report and recommendations has been published. It is recommended that the recommendations contained within the Review are delivered within the current Parliamentary term (by March 2021). A PSE Delivery and Implementation Group, jointly chaired by Scottish Government and COSLA will be established to monitor progress against each of the recommendations.

Phase 1: initial exploration

Desk study on guidance documents: September 2018

Phase 3: written representations



Post: Scottish Government
Learning Directorate
Victoria Quay

Telephone: 0300 244 4000

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