News Digest 18 – 22 June

PSHE Association CEO Jono Baggaley argued that compulsory PSHE is in line with the current public mood. The RCPCH called for a ban on junk food adverts and for PSHE lessons to instil healthy behaviours in children, whilst PSHE was also called for in a debate on upskirting. Finally, a number of written and oral questions were answered.

Compulsory PSHE in line with public mood
During his keynote speech at the PSHE Association’s annual conference in London, Jonathan Baggaley (CEO) argued that PSHE subject areas – from media literacy to children’s mental health –  have become mainstream in recent times, but that PSHE educators had been ‘covering them for years’ so were ahead of the curve. . As reported in TES, Jono said that the government should make PSHE education compulsory, ‘in line with the public mood’ and that movements such as #Metoo show the subject’s relevance.

The RCPCH calls for ban on junk food adverts “on demand” and PSHE
On 19 June the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) responded to the conclusion of the Obesity Health Alliance (OHA), and highlighted that children streaming their favourite shows online are inundated with adverts for unhealthy food and drinks. The OHA calls for restrictions on junk food advertising before 9pm on live TV and on-demand services. Max Davie from theRCPCH) also emphasised said that “we need to instil positive behaviours early by teaching children about the importance of nutrition and other healthy behaviours though Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) lessons”.

PSHE education mentioned in debate on upskirting
On 19 June, Wera Hobhouse (Lib Dem) asked the Secretary of State for Justice in an urgent question for a statement on the Government’s plan to legislate on making upskirting a sexual offence. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice Lucy Frazer acknowledged that there currently is a gap in the law regarding punishment for upskirting, whilst it is an invasion of privacy that leaves victims feeling humiliated. Following this statement many MPs asked questions, including Thangam Debbonaire who asked: Will the Minister please encourage her colleagues to bring forward compulsory personal, social and health education and sex and relationships education as soon as possible?”

Written and oral questions:

  • Sir Mark Hendrick asked what guidance is provided to pupils in secondary schools on the risks of gambling. Nadhim Zahawi answered that the Department knows that some schools choose to teach about gambling and addicting as part of their PSHE education. He added that the non-statutory PSHE programme of study by the PSHE Association includes teaching about gambling and it’s psychological and financial impact.
  • Tulip Siddiq asked whether the Department for Education will make and assessment of the potential merits of amending the curriculum for PSHE education to include lessons on visible facial differences. Nick Gibb answered that schools are currently free to teach about visible facial differences in PSHE lessons and that schools are expected to promote spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils.
  • Following reports form the Health Foundation that conclude that millennials will face worse health problems than their parents, caused largely by relationship challenges, Fiona Bruce asked the Prime Minister what action she is taking in response to over 60 MPs to strengthen family relationships. The Prime Minister answered that this is why the Government is providing for high-quality relationships education, helping children to be equipped and prepared to maintain healthy and respectful relationships in their adult lives.
  • Sarah Champion asked whether the DfE plans to publish the draft guidance on relationships and sex education by the summer recess 2018. Nick Gibb answered that the Department recently conducted a thorough engagement process on the scope and content of relationships education, relationships and sex education and PSHE. The Department plans to publish the result of the call for evidence in due course alongside a consultation on draft regulations and accompanying statutory guidance.

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