In an interview with the BBC’s Woman’s Hour today, Nicky Morgan spoke positively about PSHE education, including sex and relationships education. When she was asked about the implications for teacher workload of addressing issues such as online safety and relationships through PSHE, she said:
“I don’t think from my conversations I’ve had with teachers, with the unions and in schools that sex and relationships education and the PSHE curriculum is what teachers are talking about [when expressing concerns about workload]… I have never yet met a teacher who has said to me having a conversation about preparing our children for life in modern Britain is the part of the workload that they don’t want…”
In response, PSHE Association Chief Executive Joe Hayman said:
“We welcome these positive comments and agree that teachers are supportive of high-quality PSHE education – indeed 88% of teachers responding to a recent NUT survey said that they felt the subject should be compulsory. We have also been heartened by statements of support from three major teaching unions (NUT, ATL and NAHT) and the willingness of other unions to be involved in discussions about the subject’s future.
“It is crucial that we work with unions, faith school representatives, academy chains and others to ensure that PSHE education is recognised as being integral to the achievement of core school objectives, not seen as an additional burden. This means ensuring high-quality initial teacher education and CPD opportunities, making clear links between PSHE education and the rest of the curriculum and ensuring all schools have expert advice to call upon so that they can make best use of limited curriculum time.
“Any models we promote must be flexible and take into account the day-to-day challenges teachers face. We look forward to working with school leaders, teachers and their representatives in pursuit of this objective."
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