News Digest 15 – 19 May

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.

RSPH report on effects of social media on young people’s mental health recommends PSHE
On 19 May the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) published its #StatusOfMind report on the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s mental health. The report recognises PSHE education’s key role in promoting safe use of social media, including in relation to cyber bullying, social media addiction, body image and social media’s overall impact on mental health before recommending statutory status for the subject in all schools.

PSHE Association Chief Executive Jonathan Baggaley said:
“The RSPH is absolutely right to recommend statutory PSHE so that young people develop the knowledge and skills they need to help protect their mental health and safely navigate a digital world of complex relationships, risks, pressures but also possibilities.

Society evolves rapidly and technology will keep changing, but the fundamental skills and attributes we need to thrive in society are still the same. PSHE education is dedicated to developing these skills, though without parity of with other subjects too many pupils miss out, making the upcoming Government consultation on the status of PSHE so important.”

Election manifestos make commitment to introducing statutory RSE or PSHE
This week the Conservative Party, the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats released their election manifestos and there were  the following references relating to PSHE education and relationships and sex education :

  • On page 79 of its manifesto, the Conservative Party states that:“We will educate today’s young people in the harms of the internet and how best to combat them, introducing comprehensive Relationships and Sex Education in all primary and secondary schools to ensure that children learn about the risks of the internet, including cyberbullying and online grooming.”
  • The Labour party mentions on page 77 of its manifesto that:“The level of violence against women and girls is not acceptable. Labour will emphasise the safety of women and girls by appointing a commissioner to set new standards for tackling domestic and sexual violence. We will establish a National Refuge Fund and ensure stability for rape crisis centres. We will make age-appropriate sex and relationship education a compulsory part of the curriculum so young people can learn about respectful relationships.”
  • The Liberal Democrats mention in the education section of their manifesto that:“Introduce a curriculum entitlement – a “slimmed down core national curriculum”, which will be taught in all state-funded schools, including PSHE and age-appropriate SRE”

TES interview
Our Chief Executive Jonathan Baggaley was interviewed by TES magazine. In the interview, which can be read in the 17 May edition of the magazine, Jono talks about why PSHE education is so vital for young people’s development and why it must always be handled with great care. Speaking about our inability to predict what will happen in 2030 – the year in which a child that starts reception school in 2017 could finish school – he said: “When we face new challenges, there always seems to be a sense that we don’t know what to do. We don’t know how to educate about this new thing.’ But, actually, there’s now a really well-established history of teaching about risk, about choices – learning all of these things, which can be drawn on to deal with the challenges of the 21st century.”

 


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