The PSHE Association today expressed deep concern at the reports from Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools, of “organised resistance” by local groups to PSHE education in schools in Birmingham.
Sir Michael highlighted his concern in a letter to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan which assessed improvements put in place to keep pupils safe, including from the threat of radicalisation, since Ofsted's 2014 inspection of Birmingham Schools in response to the so-called ‘Trojan Horse’ affair.
In his letter to Nicky Morgan, Sir Michael recounts a meeting with Birmingham heads, stating:
“During our meeting, [the heads] outlined the scale and nature of the challenges they face – including organised resistance to the PSHE curriculum and the promotion of equality as well as derogatory comments posted on social media and continual pressure to change the schools’ curriculum and staffing.”
In response PSHE Association Chief Executive Joe Hayman said:
“This report from Sir Michael Wilshaw is very disturbing. The campaign for all children to receive high-quality PSHE education is hugely popular amongst pupils, parents, teachers and heads nationally, and the behaviour of a tiny minority of individuals seeking to undermine learning which keeps pupils healthy and safe and prepares them for the modern world is unacceptable.
PSHE education can only ever work if it is delivered in partnership between schools, families and communities. This partnership works well in the vast majority of cases, but heads, teachers, parents and pupils need protection where a tiny number of individuals seek to undermine efforts to provide children with education which they want and need.
As the National Association of Head Teachers has said, statutory status for PSHE education would provide protection and reassurance for heads when planning their curriculum, particularly if they face this kind of pressure. I will be writing to Ofsted and Ministers on this matter and once again call on the government to give all schools the support they need by making PSHE education a statutory subject.”