The Health Select Committee took evidence on mental health services this week, during which the Children’s Commissioner spoke favourably of PSHE. Anti-Bullying Week was debated in the House of Commons, and Ministers answered various written questions from MPs.
The Sex Education Forum celebrated its 30th anniversary and highlighted its 12 principles of effective RSE. The DfE appointed Ian Bauckham CBE as an advisor on how relationships and sex education should be taught in schools and about the role of PSHE education. Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield called for action on making PSHE statutory in its entirety and the UK Youth Parliament again chose a ‘curriculum for life’ as its priority campaign.
This week the NAHT released findings of its survey on PSHE and RSE, showing overwhelming support for statutory PSHE. The topics of sexual harassment and violence in schools were debated in the House of Commons. The NHS published the result of its annual smoking, drinking and drug-use survey and Minister Nick Gibb answered PSHE related written questions.
This week a number of PSHE-related questions were answered by the Government and the Telegraph covered the #MeToo campaign, interviewing a PSHE Association subject specialist on the topic of tackling sexual harassment.
This week Julian Knight MP, Chair of the APPG on Financial Education for Young People spoke out in support of statutory PSHE. The Youth Parliament once again chose ‘a curriculum for life’ as one of its potential campaign priorities. The Government released an updated version of its commons library briefing on sexual harassment in schools, and across Europe Restart a Heart Day was marked.
An update of the Millennium Cohort Study published this week showed high levels of depression amongst 14 year olds, especially young girls. A poll commissioned by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families suggested many primary teachers don’t feel adequately trained to support pupils with mental health problems. Mental health was also the focus of parliamentary questions this week, along with questions on relationships education and covering domestic violence on the curriculum.
Public Health England launched its Rise Above for Schools campaign this week, including PSHE resources on a range of topics relating to pupil health, wellbeing and resilience. A new commission has been launched to explore teaching about fake news and critical literacy skills. DfE Minister Nick Gibb highlighted the importance of PSHE to drug awareness and prevention education. It was also the FPA’s Sexual Health Week, with a focus this year on relationships and sex education, and TES and ITV published the results of their joint survey on bullying.
As expected, it has been quieter politically over the summer but there have been a number of PSHE related news stories of relevance in recent weeks. University of Hertfordshire research linked a low sense of belonging in school with self-harm, and highlighted PSHE education’s potential to help. The NSPCC called for relationships and sex education within a wider PSHE education curriculum to combat sexual misconduct in schools and the NAHT stressed the importance of PSHE to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils.