Government takes ‘major step’ towards better PSHE for all

  • PSHE Association welcomes new government commitment to mandatory health education in addition to existing commitments to mandatory relationships and sex education.
  • This makes the majority of PSHE education mandatory for all pupils, in all schools from 2020
  • The move represents a major step towards addressing concerns about consistency of quality and reduced curriculum time for PSHE, despite its proven benefits
  • This shouldn’t de-prioritise other aspects of PSHE. Learning about economic wellbeing and preparing for work are vital and inextricably linked to health and relationships.
  • The Association will read the draft guidance carefully and respond accordingly to ensure proposals meet their full potential, and teachers/schools have the training and support they need

The PSHE Association strongly welcomes today’s announcement that all schools will be required to teach health education in addition to relationships education. This makes the majority of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education mandatory for all pupils, in all schools from 2020. While falling short of mandatory status for the whole of PSHE this measure will greatly encourage schools already prioritising PSHE and help level-up standards across all schools, for all pupils. In his oral statement on the proposals the Education Secretary recognised that many schools successfully cover health and relationships education already through a broader PSHE framework, and should “continue to do so . . . rather than starting from scratch”, which the Association sees as a great endorsement for the work of PSHE professionals across the country.

With concerns about young people’s mental health on the rise, and physical health – including obesity and healthy lifestyles – an ongoing issue, the Association believes that these commitments can have a major impact on the health, wellbeing and safety of this generation and generations to come.

Chief Executive Jonathan Baggaley said:

“The government’s commitment to mandatory health and relationships education is welcome and a major step forward. Damian Hinds has shown outstanding leadership in guaranteeing young people an education that supports their physical and mental health, wellbeing and relationships. Many schools are already preparing young people for life through high quality PSHE education and these measures will encourage them to continue this work while helping to ensure a levelling up of PSHE standards across all schools so that all pupils benefit.

Health and wellbeing are central pillars of PSHE education, and this – along with recent commitments to mandatory relationships education – gives a clear signal to all schools that regular, high-quality PSHE should be a central part of their curriculum.

We are disappointed that mandatory status doesn’t apply to the whole of PSHE, but schools mustn’t feel any need to de-prioritise aspects of the subject that fall outside health, wellbeing and relationships. Learning about economic wellbeing and preparing for work are vital to preparing young people for modern life – and are inextricably linked to health and relationships. Schools should continue to plan their PSHE as a coherent programme taking all aspects into account.

These commitments are a huge boost which will benefit children, young people, parents and carers, for many years to come. We will now look closely at the draft guidance and reply to the consultation on how it can work best for schools and young people”.

The draft guidance, regulations and consultation form are available here.

NOTES:

  • Press/Media enquiries contact John Dillon on 07740 110 186 / john.dillon@pshe-association.org.uk
  • Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education is a school subject that supports pupils to be healthy, safe and prepared for modern life. The PSHE education curriculum covers a range of pressing issues facing children and young people today, including those relating to relationships, mental and physical health, staying safe and aware online and offline, financial literacy and careers
  • The PSHE Association is the national body for PSHE education. A charity and membership organisation, the Association works to improve PSHE education standards by supporting a national network of teachers and schools with advice, training and support. Find out more at www.pshe-association.org.uk 

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