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.
The Government’s new Drug Strategy, which recommends increased emphasis on preventative education, was debated in the House of Commons this week. Parliamentary questions concerned PSHE education’s role in supporting positive body image, healthy relationships and emergency life-saving skills.
This week Public Health England highlighted the critical role PSHE can play in preventing child sexual exploitation. The Government 2017 Drug Strategy also mentioned the importance of PSHE education in preventing drug and alcohol misuse. Finally, a number of PSHE-related written questions were answered by Minister Nick Gibb on discrimination, emergency life-saving skills and relationships education.
This week it has been confirmed that DfE Minister Nick Gibb takes on responsibility for PSHE and RSE. PSHE education was mentioned in a Lords’ debate on financial inclusion and a number of written parliamentary questions were answered on relationships and sex education (RSE).
In the past few weeks the upcoming elections have dominated the news. Last week we highlighted guidance on discussing terrorist attacks with pupils following the attack in Manchester. Additionally, sexual health charity the FPA called on the next government to invest in high quality relationships and sex education.
This week the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) published a report on the effects of social media on young people’s mental health in which it recommends statutory PSHE. Our CEO Jonathan Baggaley was interviewed by TES magazine on the importance of PSHE and references were made to relationships and sex education and PSHE by political parties in their election manifestos.
This week the Health and Education Select Committees issued a joint recommendation call for statutory PSHE in the concluding report of their children and young people’s mental health inquiry. Compulsory PSHE was also recommended in the context of improving financial education and the PSHE Association launched a series of new courses in anticipation of the new statutory requirement to teach relationships and sex education from September 2019.
This week the Children and Social Work Bill received Royal Assent , meaning Government proposals to make relationships and sex education become law with the potential of similar status for PSHE education in its entirety, pending consultation. The Digital Economy Bill and the Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Act also received assent and various written questions on PSHE and RSE were answered by Edward Timpson and Lord Nash.
Although much attention went to the newly announced June general elections this week, PSHE education and relationships and sex education (RSE) were discussed nonetheless. The NUT made a strong comment in which it called PSHE and SRE an ‘essential part of the curriculum’ that covers a whole range of issues, not just relationships. The results of a poll on hate crime and hate speech by the ATL union showed further support for PSHE and Edward Timpson reiterated the DfE’s commitment to pupil mental health and wellbeing.