The Times reported that the DfE were working on proposals to strengthen status of sex and relationships education. Justine Greening reiterated importance of addressing quality and accessibility of PSHE in parliamentary questions as DfE Ministers Lord Nash and Edward Timpson referred to PSHE and SRE in responses to written questions. PSHE was also discussed during the second reading of the Digital Economy Bill and in an answers to a parliamentary question on female genital mutilation (FGM) .
This week, PSHE education and sex and relationships education (SRE) were discussed in the Children and Social Work Bill debate and a debate on violence against women. The NSPCC released survey figures showing a large increase in hospital admissions for children that self-harm and the PSHE Association launched an updated version of our Programme of Study for PSHE Education (key stages 1-5), expanded to cover key stage 5.
The Government responded to the Women and Equalities Select Committee report on sexual harassment and violence this week. The report recommended statutory status for PSHE education, including sex and relationships education, yet the Government response made no commitment to improving status at this stage. This prompted a joint letter from five Select Committee urging Education Secretary Justine Greening to take action to make PSHE and SRE statutory and follow-up parliamentary questions.
During this week our Deputy CEO Jenny Barksfield gave oral evidence to the Lords Financial Exclusion Committee on the importance of PSHE education to financial literacy and Education Minister Lord Nash was questioned by his fellow peers about strengthening the status of PSHE in a debate on sex and relationships education. The Association also pledged support for the #iwill social action campaign and a report by Ofsted suggested that schools should be doing more to prepare young people for the world of work.
This was a busy but positive week. A number of reports were released that called for statutory PSHE and the NAHT marked anti-bullying week with a powerful statement in support of the subject. The news that the UK Youth Parliament has elected ‘a curriculum for life’ as its priority campaigning issue for 2017 was significant.
Sir Michael Wilshaw presented to the House of Commons’ Education Select Committee on the purpose of education, citing the role of PSHE education. The Ofsted Chief stated that good schools teach PSHE education well and that “a good school is not only about promoting the core curriculum. It’s about making sure that youngsters do understand about personal relationships, do understand about sex education, do understand about careers.”
Sexting is becoming ‘the norm’ for teens warn child protection experts
Kate Burls, education team coordinator at Ceop, a command of the National Crime Agency, said: “Working with young people, we are finding that sexting increasingly feels like a norm in terms of behaviour in their peer group.”
Barnardos have released a report 'Digital Dangers: the impact of technology on the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and young people'. A survey of young people found that almost half (48 per cent) living at home say their parents only know some of what they do online. The report highlights the need for, among other things, “Easier access to existing prevention resources and advice, including age-appropriate healthy relationships and sex education through schools”. Read the news article and report here