Personal and social education – what should Scotland’s pupils learn?


What role should personal and social education (PSE) play in Scottish schools? This will be the focus for the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee as it prepares to undertake a round table on the issue.

PSE is taught in most secondary schools throughout Scotland and it can cover subjects as diverse as sex education, healthy living and careers . With the content of the class optional, the Committee wants to understand what the main issues are in relation to content and how it is delivered across Scotland.

The Committee recently asked young people, teachers, parents and carers on social media what PSE should be about.  The Committee received hundreds of responses on Facebook, twitter and by email with answers ranging from interview and first aid skills, health and wellbeing and budgeting. The Committee also held focus groups with teachers and young people to get their views first hand.

Committee Convener, James Dornan MSP said:

“Thousands of pupils from across Scotland take part in personal and social education in our schools. But what exactly these classes cover and how they are covered appears to vary from area to area and school to school.

“Our Committee wants to find out what PSE should be about and how best it can meet the needs of young people throughout the country.

“We have already had a fantastic response and have heard from young people, parents and teachers about what they want from PSE. Our round table will help us explore the impact these classes have on pupils and what could need to change.”

At the roundtable, which takes place on Wednesday 22 February, the Committee will hear from witnesses including Time for Inclusive Education and a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament.


The Committee recently asked for feedback on PSE via social media The Committee received comments on Facebook, twitter, 100 word comments by email and MSPs also heard in person from teachers and young people. Copies of these submissions can be found via the Committee’s web page at:

The meeting can be viewed via Facebook Live on the Parliament’s Facebook page:

There were a broad range of views expressed on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere, here’s a snapshot:

“@SP_EduSkills Please Include LGBTI issues in PSE lessons and help stop Prejudice,Intolerance & Bullying!” Colin Taylor on twitter

“The Scottish Youth Parliament believes young people should be involved in the design of PSHE course content, which must be kept up-to-date and relevant to our rapidly changing world.” SYP Submission

“PSE should teach more about Mental Health and how to look after ones self if struggling - for example who to talk to and who is there for you, what services are there.” Paul Wilson, by email

“It should include things like banking advice, tax lessons, how to change a fuse and a tyre.” Mhairi Ferguson Burns on Facebook


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