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External accreditation of PSE

Personal and Social Education

External accreditation of PSE

The school was keen that the PSE learning and experiences of all learners in Years 10 and 11 should be accredited. The reasons were to raise the status of PSE, to motivate the learners and to provide them with a relevant qualification at the end of Key Stage 4. After researching several options, the school decided to pilot a PSE GCSE short course. The chosen specification covered the PSE themes whilst encouraging skill development and active pupil participation.

Following a curriculum audit of PSE provision, the PSE coordinator worked with curriculum leaders to identify realistic opportunities to cover PSE GCSE short course content in their subjects. For example, elements of sustainable development and global citizenship were being covered in Science, geography, RE and design and technology. These contributions were incorporated into the PSE scheme of work. This arrangement was necessary so that best use was made of the weekly timetabled PSE sessions.

The PSE GCSE short course is delivered to all learners Year 10 and 11 by a small team of specialist staff. Each team member has received training and support from the awarding body to deliver the course modules, which cover:

  • Citizenship – Human Rights, Moral and Social Issue, Democratic Processes
  • Health Education – Legal and Illegal Drugs, Sexual Health
  • Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship- Sustainability, Energy Resources, Protecting the Environment, Living Sustainably
  • Active Learning in the Community.

During the summer term, Year 10 learners work in mixed ability groups to plan, carry out, write up and evaluate an active citizenship community project. Initial preparatory work is completed during timetabled PSE sessions. The project is launched and the group work undertaken as a focused activity on a day when the timetable is suspended. The school has developed strong links with a wide range of organisations helping pupils address a range of local and global issues including a proposed local recycling facility, homelessness and supporting a home for orphaned girls in Kenya.

In Year 11 every learner completes a five hour board prescribed task in which there is element of choice. Individually learners research a set topic related to the module specification such as human rights, parenting, or Fairtrade and then present their findings in an appropriate format, e.g. as a leaflet, poster, or PowerPoint. The outcomes are externally assessed.

Links with the PSE framework


The participative approach adopted provides learners with varied opportunities to develop their communication and thinking skills plus their ability to work with others. Specifically they are:

  • listen perceptively in a range of situations, and respond appropriately
  • communicate personal feelings and views effectively in a wide range of situations through a range of appropriate methods
  • appreciate, reflect on and critically evaluate other points of view
  • use prior knowledge to explain links between cause and effect and make predictions
  • analyse information and ideas in order to assess bias, reliability and validity
  • take different perspectives into account when making informed decisions and choices effectively
  • work both independently and cooperatively to plan and complete tasks
  • reflect on the roles played in group situations including leadership.

Related Links

The PSE framework provides the foundation for a broad, balanced holistic approach to PSE.