Social And Emotional Learning : Schools Should Make Provisions For Personal Social Health And Economic Education

Social And Emotional Learning : Schools Should Make Provisions For Personal Social Health And Economic Education

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Education in the United Kingdom has become increasingly accountable for raising academic standards, due to measures such as standardised testing, across primary education in core curriculum subjects. Primary school pupils are now required to sit SATs tests in line with the recent National Curriculum brought into England’s schools by the Department for Education (DfE) in 2014. The change became apparent as the DfE believed ‘previous expectations for children were too low’ and that the new assessments were designed to reflect the ‘more challenging national curriculum’ (Department for Education, 2016). In such climate, it is vital that social and emotional learning (SEL) is available to all students, as it has been proven to support their academic performance as well as encouraging individual social and emotional development in children (Suttie, 2007). The National Curriculum states ‘All schools should make provisions for personal social health and Economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice’, thus identifies a need for social and emotional learning (National Curriculum, 2013).

However it also specifies ‘schools are free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education’ (National Curriculum, 2013). It could be argued that, as there is no formal structure to follow and also no outline of which learning objectives are essential, teaching staff are therefore offered flexibility to be creative over how and what they deliver to pupils. This could be seen to be beneficial. Although, as schools are free to include other subjects or topics in the planning of SEL, there is a risk that the importance of SEL is underestimated, that lessons will have multiple focuses, and ti...


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...chools, there may not be the adequate space to allow this.

For children that find academic subjects challenging, the pressure to achieve their age related expectation, which the National Curriculum now focuses on, could be found to damage their emotional and mental health. Subsequently, it could be argued that the National Curriculum should also identify that ‘the social and emotional health development of children and young people should be a key priority for all those involved in education’ (Blower, C, 2015). From careful analysis of selected social and emotional learning resources it has become evident that although Social and Emotional Learning is paramount to a child’s development, no single method is viable to support all children without impacting upon other aspects of the educational system, whether this is funding, time, resourcing or academic attainment.

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