10/10/2014 12:37 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

School Timetable Reveals Social Pressures On Today's Girls

Teenage girls (13-14) in garden, portrait, smiling

If you've ever doubted the pressures today's teenage girls are under, take a look at this secondary school timetable.

It was sent to us by the mum of a 12-year-old girl with the message: "It wasn't like this in my day!"

Keith Kendrick

Aside from having to learn the national curriculum of English, maths, science, history, French etc etc, it shows the enormous personal challenges schoolgirls face in society – and teachers' efforts to keep our children informed, safe and prepared as they move through adolescent. It's mind-boggling.

Under the category Personal, Social and Health Education (PHSE), pupils from Year 7 onwards at this girls' school are to be guided through everything from puberty to friendships to healthy eating to bullying to sexting to sexual decision-making to pornography to suicide to self-esteem to drug, alcohol and smoking awareness.

They're the sorts of things we learned about from experience and anecdotes when we were growing up, but now schools have a whole programme of dedicated sessions to steer girls through the minefield of modern day life.

The 45-year-old mum told us:


​"When I saw the timetable I thought, 'My God, this is going to scare the wits out of my daughter' but she just shrugged it off. Kids are so much more knowledgeable about these things nowadays."


"My daughter already knows more about periods and sex at the age of 12 then I did when I was 15!

"Part of me thinks this kind of thing is overkill and children should find out about life through their own experiences and mistakes - and from their parents.

"But then I think that modern life IS more pressurised than it was when I was growing up so it's a good thing that the school is equipping them with the tools to see them through to adulthood."

In fact, PSHE has its own website, where it outlines the benefits of Personal, Social and Health Education as enabling pupils to 'develop the qualities and attributes they need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society'.

It asks: "Why is PSHE education provision important to schools?"

Answer: "PSHE education makes a major contribution to schools' statutory responsibilities to provide a curriculum that is broadly based, balanced and meets the needs of all pupils. Under section 78 of the Education Act 2002 and the Academies Act 2010 such a curriculum must:

• Promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society;

• Prepare pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. Maintained schools also have statutory duties to:

• Promote children and young people's wellbeing i.e. physical and mental health; emotional wellbeing; social and economic wellbeing well being; education, training and recreation; recognition of the contribution made by children to society; and protection from harm and neglect).

What do your kids (boys and girls) think about PSHE days?