Today a cross-party committee of MPs will debate the Children and Social Work Bill, as it continues its passage through the House of Commons. An amendment has been tabled to the Bill on personal, social and health education, in particular about providing appropriate sex and relationships education.
In their joint response to the committee, the NAHT and PSHE Association outline the case for making personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education a statutory curriculum subject in all schools. And though a key area of PSHE education, they also highlight that any strengthening of status should not only focus on sex and relationships education but should apply to the subject as a whole.
Commenting on the joint response, Jonathan Baggaley, Chief Executive of the PSHE Association, says: “All pupils, in all schools, should have an entitlement to personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.
PSHE education develops essential skills and attributes – such as self-esteem, resilience, managing risk and resisting peer pressure – which pupils can apply to a range of areas. These include mental wellbeing – a core focus of the Prime Minister’s speech on Monday – as well as online safety, challenging extremist views, healthy lifestyles and preparing for the world of work and more. Therefore PSHE education in its entirety must be granted statutory status on the curriculum to support pupils with the broad range of complex and interconnected challenges they face”.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, says: “PSHE is crucial to provide time in the curriculum to discuss important and sensitive issues, and to protect teachers when grappling with these subjects. I hope the government takes on board this suggestion.
“While all curriculum subjects and broader school experiences are crucial to achieving these goals, we believe that PSHE education provides a unique curriculum opportunity for pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to keep themselves healthy and safe and to succeed personally, professionally and academically. Our full submission to the committee, produced in partnership with the PSHE Association, calls for PSHE to be made statutory for all pupils. The case for this is becoming unarguable.”