Support for statutory PSHE education

Despite the importance of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education and the evidence of its potential, it isn’t held to the same standards as other subjects on the curriculum, meaning that millions of pupils miss out on the high-quality learning they need and deserve.

Our campaign for PSHE education to be given the same status as other subjects has gained huge public, professional and political support including four Parliamentary select committees, the Children’s Commissioner, the Chief Medical Officer, the Association for Directors of Public Health, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, the Association of Independent Local Safeguarding Children Boards Chairs, two royal societies, five leading unions, six medical royal colleges, over 100 expert bodies including the NSPCC, 85% of business leaders, 88% of teachers, 92% of parents and 92% of young people.

Our landmark 'A curriculum for life' report brings together compelling evidence that high-quality PSHE education helps to keep children and young people safe, mentally and physically healthy and prepare them for life and work.

The cross-party Commons Education Committee launched a comprehensive inquiry into PSHE education (including sex and relationships education) in 2014 and the resulting ‘Life Lessons’ report recommended statutory status for the subject. The Home Affairs Committee and Joint Committee on Human Rights also recommended statutory status as did the Women and Equalities Committee 2016 report into sexual harassment and violence in schools and the chairs of Commons Health and Business, Innovation and Skills Committees.

On March 1 2017 Education Secretary Justine Greening made the historic announcement of her intention to make ‘relationships and sex’ (RSE) education compulsory in all secondary schools and ‘relationships education’ compulsory in all primaries from 2019, while opening the door for PSHE education in its entirety to be statutory pending consultation. This follows growing cross-party consensus on the need for PSHE and RSE that helps pupils meet the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly complex world.

While a major breakthrough, the PSHE Association will be working hard to ensure the practicalities of implementing these changes work for all schools, all practitioners and the pupils they teach. Therefore, we will be clear during consultation that in order to be effective a number of key criteria need to be met: PSHE education must be taught regularly, as a whole subject (including RSE, mental health, physical health etc.), by trained teachers in all schools and to all pupils.

The PSHE Association’s five priorities for statutory PSHE education are that it should be taught:

  • regularly – regular lessons on the timetable like other subjects
  • as a whole subject – from RSE to mental & physical health, online safety to job skills
  • by trained teachers – PSHE covered in teacher training and ongoing opportunities to learn
  • in all schools – all schools including academies , free schools and independent schools
  • to all pupils – from year 1 to finishing secondary school

  • Over 120 leading organisations support the teaching of high-quality PSHE education in all schools