Mental health on the curriculum in Wales
The Welsh curriculum is changing, and with it, a brand-new approach to mental wellbeing is coming.
In 2019, the Welsh government consulted on a proposed new curriculum, and in January 2020 this was finalised. Due to be rolled out from 2022, most Welsh schools are already planning on how they will implement it, with some ‘pioneer schools’ already running the new curriculum.
The new curriculum is split into six Areas of Learning and Expertise (AoLEs), and the AoLE which covers mental wellbeing is called Health and Wellbeing. This new area will replace personal and social education (PSE) and relationships and sexuality education (RSE) as curriculum subjects.
Health and Wellbeing in primary schools
As part of Health and Wellbeing, there are five ‘What Matters’ statements that pupils will learn about. Each of these statements is then broken down into five progression steps. The statements are:
- Statement 1 – Developing physical health and well-being has lifelong benefits
- Statement 2 - How we process and respond to our experiences affects our mental health and emotional well-being
- Statement 3 - Our decision-making impacts on the quality of our lives and the lives of others
- Statement 4 - How we engage with social influences shapes who we are and affects our health and well-being
- Statement 5 - Healthy relationships are fundamental to our well-being
You can see a more detailed breakdown of the five statements on the Welsh government’s website.
PSE in primary schools
The Health and Wellbeing AoLE will replace current curriculum subjects PSE and RSE across primary and secondary schools. In Wales currently, PSE is taught in primary and secondary schools, but RSE is only compulsory in secondary schools.
PSE is taught to children aged 7 and up. The aims of PSE are to:
- develop learners’ self-esteem and a sense of personal responsibility
- promote self-respect, respect for others and celebrate diversity
- equip learners to live safe, healthy lives
- prepare learners for the choices and opportunities of lifelong learning
- empower learners to participate in their schools and communities as active responsible citizens locally, nationally and globally
- foster positive attitudes and behaviour towards the principles of sustainable development and global citizenship
- prepare learners for the challenges, choices and responsibilities of work
- and adult life.
Find out more about PSE and the framework behind it in this guidance from the Welsh government.