The PSHE Association has welcomed the launch of a Government ‘call for evidence’ on personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education and relationships and sex education (RSE). The Association called this “an opportunity to stress the importance of PSHE as a curriculum subject dedicated to keeping our children and young people safe, healthy and prepared for life and work”, but emphasised the need for statutory status to apply to the whole of PSHE education, including but not limited to RSE.
Growing evidence suggests high-quality, universal PSHE education has the potential to support all young people to be safe, healthy and prepared for life and work beyond school. It has also been shown to support academic attainment. However PSHE education, unlike other school subjects, is non-statutory – meaning that in many schools it isn’t taught regularly and there are concerns about consistency of quality.
Commenting on the consultation launch, PSHE Association Chief Executive Jonathan Baggaley said:
“To fulfil its potential, PSHE education must be taught regularly, by trained teachers to all pupils in all schools. It also needs to be taught as a whole subject, educating young people about a wide range of issues beyond relationships and sex. DfE commitment to statutory relationships and sex education (RSE) and updated guidance should be commended, but this is just one part – though an integral part – of what broader PSHE can achieve. There is clear evidence that statutory status for the whole of PSHE is necessary.
This consultation provides an opportunity to stress the importance of PSHE as a curriculum subject dedicated to keeping our children and young people safe (online and offline), healthy (mentally and physically), and prepared for life and work. We hope all those working with children and young people will take advantage of this opportunity to make the case for high quality PSHE.”
Statutory status for PSHE education in its entirety has widespread support from over 100 leading organisations – including the leading teaching unions, six Royal Medical Colleges, NSPCC, Teenage Cancer Trust and Young Enterprise – along with a majority of parents and young people.
The PSHE Association is encouraging its national network of PSHE practitioners to submit their own evidence to the consultation and to get their students involved. To assist this, the Association has created a free pack of lesson materials to help teachers facilitate evidence gathering sessions with students.