90% of over 900 professionals surveyed by school leader’s union NAHT said that PSHE education, including relationships and sex education (RSE), should have the same status as other school subjects, and 91% of respondents want the subject to be taught in regular, timetabled lessons. The survey was conducted with a view to establishing how Government proposals could work best for schools and for students.
When presenting its findings the NAHT has reiterated its call for statutory PSHE education to be introduced from 2019, and not just elements of the subject concerning relationships and sex education, stating that ‘PSHE is the vehicle which will support successful delivery of RSE and make it work for schools and students’.
Paul Whiteman, NAHT’s General Secretary said that “NAHT has long advocated statutory PSHE and age-appropriate sex and relationships education, for all pupils, in all schools” and Sarah Hannafin, NAHT Policy Advisor said that “in our view, RSE is best fulfilled as part of statutory PSHE”.
This year’s Children and Social Work Act included a commitment to introducing statutory ‘relationships education’ in all primaries, and RSE in all secondary schools from 2019, and included a ‘power’ to make PSHE statutory in its entirety, pending consultation. A period of initial engagement with the sector will result in publication of guidance and proposals for consultation in the New Year.
PSHE Association Chief Executive Jonathan Baggaley welcomed the NAHT survey findings, saying that:
“The survey results clearly show support from professionals for introducing statutory PSHE from 2019. This should include, but not be limited to, relationships and sex education. Introducing statutory RSE on its own won’t work for pupils if it doesn’t work for schools, and schools are clear on the need for RSE to form part of a commitment to PSHE education in its entirety. This would support schools to tackle issues such as sexual harassment through regular lessons, but also places RSE within a broader PSHE framework designed to support health (mental and physical), safety, and ability to thrive in life and work”.