Today’s joint report from the cross-party Education and Health and Social Care Committees on the government mental health Green Paper stresses the need for compulsory personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education in all schools. Both Committees have recommended compulsory PSHE education in recent years and this report reiterates their call for the Department for Education to take this measure, on this occasion in relation to children’s mental health and contributory factors such as social media use.
Parents, teachers, campaigners and young people themselves have called for compulsory PSHE to address concerns about reduced curriculum time and variable standards. The government is weighing up whether to strengthen the status of PSHE, having so far only committed to the sex and relationships element of the subject.
PSHE Association Chief Executive Jonathan Baggaley says:
“The PSHE Association welcomes the committees’ reiteration of the need for government to make PSHE compulsory in all schools. The future of the subject is in the balance, and although strengthening sex and relationships education is overdue and welcome, this isn’t the only aspect of PSHE that’s vital to children’s safety, health and readiness for the modern world. Issues such as mental health and contributory factors such as social media, drugs, physical health and economic literacy can’t be addressed through relationships and sex education alone, so the government must act to make PSHE a statutory curriculum subject in its entirety”