A number of amendments related to PSHE education will be debated as the Children and Families Bill reaches the Lords this week. In advance of this debate, the Government has set out its position on PSHE education in a letter to the Members of the House of Lords who are leading the PSHE amendments.
The letter from Lord Nash – a public document – highlights the requirement for every state-funded school to publish their PSHE curriculum online and reiterates the strong links between PSHE and schools’ statutory obligation to provide a broad and balanced curriculum which supports pupils’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural development and prepares them for the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities of adult life.
The letter also introduced some important new developments, including:
- The announcement that the Department for Education will be supporting an expert panel on PSHE education, chaired by our Chief Executive Joe Hayman
- Confirmation that the PSHE Association will receive grant funding from the DfE in 2014-15 under which we will collect case studies demonstrating good practice in PSHE education
PSHE Association Chief Executive Joe Hayman said:
“There are a number of positive developments outlined in this letter, such as DfE support for an expert group on PSHE education. We will provide more information on this over the coming months. We are also grateful for continued funding from the DfE as we seek to provide a high-quality, affordable service to our members.
However, while these measures are welcome, they do not compensate for lack of Government action to make PSHE education statutory; nor do they address the current accountability system for schools which too often serves as a disincentive for Heads to focus on PSHE education. In spite of the excellent work PSHE co-ordinators are doing across the country, PSHE education remains, in the words of Ofsted, ‘not yet good enough’. Children and young people deserve much better.
We will continue to play a leading role in improving the quality of PSHE education nationally and are, for example, working with Brook and the Sex Education Forum on the new SRE advice referenced in Lord Nash’s letter. But leadership from the voluntary sector in improving practice needs to be matched by leadership from Government on the statutory status of PSHE and on accountability measures for schools which encourage the teaching of PSHE education. That is why we support the PSHE amendments to the Children and Families Bill being put forward this week, and will continue to make the case for them, whether or not the Lords vote in favour.”
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