In response to a recent Parliamentary question on drugs and PSHE education, Department for Education Minister Liz Truss MP stated:
“Pupils are currently taught about the negative physiological effects of drugs as part of the statutory National Curriculum Programmes of Study for science, and may also receive wider drugs education as part of non-statutory Personal, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education. Revised draft programmes of study for both subjects will be sent out for consultation in due course and consultation responses received will be taken into account before final programmes of study are published later this year.”
We welcome the Department’s commitment to consult on these programmes of study and will be encouraging and supporting our members to get involved in the consultation process. We remain convinced that the most effective way to ensure effective PSHE education is through a single framework with four themes which are developed and delivered flexibly by schools in a way that is appropriate to the wider school community, including parents. The four areas are:
Health: learn how to maintain physical, mental and emotional health including sexual health; manage risks to health and safety; make healthy, informed choices about drugs, alcohol and tobacco
Relationships: know how to develop and maintain positive relationships, promote family life and develop parenting skills; understanding how to deal with risky or negative relationships (including all forms of bullying and abuse, sexual and other violence and including sexual consent); and manage loss (bereavement, separation and divorce).
Careers and the world of work: learn how to manage transition, make responsible choices, be enterprising and ambitious, develop employability and leadership skills, manage risk and develop flexibility and resilience
Personal finance: manage personal money (and understand its link with public finance), understand budgeting, saving and borrowing, manage financial risk (both positive and negative), plan for the future and deal with debt.
Managing risk and taking responsibility are stressed throughout each of the four themes. In addition, we believe that PSHE education should adhere to three principles:
- material used is accurate and balanced
- is appropriate to the religious and cultural backgrounds and the ages of the of the pupils concerned and reflects a reasonable range of religious, cultural and other perspectives
- that it promotes equality, encourages acceptance of diversity, and emphasises the importance of both rights and responsibilities.
We look forward to contributing to the consultation process in due course.
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