What is personal, social and health education (PSHE)?
1) It’s just relentless fearmongering
One fateful day I ventured into PSHE expecting another boring lesson. But the nightmare that the lesson turned into is forever imprinted in my memory. It was the ‘how to avoid paedophiles and stalkers’ lesson. I knew this was going to be a scare story when the teacher said ‘I don’t mean to worry you’ before saying something deeply worrying. But I was unprepared for the extreme nature of the scary stuff that followed.
We opened our book to the correct page and set about reading, and after that we discussed what we had read. The book was truly shocking. It gave us tips such as ‘If you are alone at a bus stop then wait in a cafe or shop’ - forgetting that this means missing the bus! By way of illustration, we were offered what was (I presume) meant to be a horrifying glimpse into the dark side of humanity, but was actually just a man chatting up a woman. Then it gave the most absurd, ridiculous ‘tip’ I have ever heard! It said ‘It is best for girls to wear trousers instead of skirts’, with my teacher elaborating that this was so it would be harder for paedophiles to rape girls; indeed it would probably be enough to put them off raping them. This was effectively saying that girls would be automatically raped if they wore skirts! This is absolute rubbish, and the book was also implying that men are so evil that they’re all paedophiles and will rape any girl wearing skirt!
2) Self-esteem culture
Ah, self-esteem. The ultimate virtue in the eyes of patronising PSHE teachers - their justification for going on about always feeling good, being yourself, etc, at the expense of actually achieving anything with your life. The only use for self-esteem is when you’ve achieved something really good. You shouldn’t be told to feel proud for just being yourself. For example, I felt good about finally finishing something in DT, whereas I don’t feel good for just being myself. If the self-esteem culture has its way, children like me will be able to drop out of exams because we don’t ‘feel good about it’. The simple message of self-esteem culture is: ‘Forget about achieving anything, just feel good!’ Well, such low expectations only make me feel sick.
3) We could put the time wasted on PHSE to good use
Instead of this non-subject, we could be studying a real one, such as history. Or here’s an idea: how about instead of PSHE we just go home early?
Freddie Sehgal Cuthbert is a schoolboy.