Reform of the National Curriculum in England: PSHE Association response

To Our Members:

If you agree with the aims of the PSHE Association and want to support our response to proposed reforms to the National Curriculum, please enter the online consultation process here on the Department for Education website by the 16th of April closing date.

Once registered, you may want to copy and paste the recommended responses below on the following questions:

Q1 (Do you have any comments on the proposed aims for the National Curriculum as a whole as set out in the framework document?

Recommended response:

I am disappointed that PSHE is not given statutory status under the national curriculum. At the very least, I believe that PSHE education provision should be more explicitly linked to schools achieving the requirements set out in the national curriculum for schools to provide a curriculum that is broadly based and balanced and which:

  • promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
  • prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

The reference to the school curriculum could read as follows:

“Schools have a duty to provide a curriculum that is broadly based and balanced and which:

  • promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
  • prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

Schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education, alongside their statutory provision, in order to meet these requirements”.

An alternative approach would be to alter paragraph 2.3 of the curriculum framework to read as follows (our additions in bold):
 
“In developing a curriculum to meet the statutory obligations set out in paragraph 2.1, all schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice. Schools are also free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education.”

 

On Q3 (Do you have any comments on the content set out in the draft programmes of study?)

Recommended response:

On the Science Curriculum:

I support the Sex Education Forum’s response to the National Curriculum consultation setting out that the revised National Curriculum must ensure that all children and young people are entitled to a comprehensive and developmental programme of sex education through science.

I recommend that:

The science curriculum adopts clear, open language and a positive tone for content relating to human reproduction, growth and sexual health. This is essential to make it clear to teachers, parents and pupils what will be taught. This means that:

  • the term puberty should be used in primary science and the retrogressive note stating 'they should not be expected to understand how reproduction occurs' should be removed;
  • at KS3 the current content on sexual health and disease, contraception, and adolescence should be retained, and learning about hormones should be included.

Because the only statutory requirement for primary school sex education is within National Curriculum science, it is essential for safeguarding and well-being that the programme of study makes clear that:

  • children can name external genitalia at Key stage 1;
  • and learn about puberty before it happens i.e. introducing the idea at Lower KS 2.

As there is no other requirement for primary SRE, science should reflect the current Sex and Relationship Education Guidance (DfEE 2000), which recommends that SRE:

  • ‘should ensure that both boys and girls know about puberty and how a baby is born.’

On harmful substances:

I also believe that the Government should include specific references to the safe and responsible use of chemicals, including medicines found in the home and specific references to the effects of alcohol, tobacco and volatile substances on the body's systems in Key Stage 1 and 2.  There should be specific references to tobacco, volitile substances and alcohol at Key Stage 3 as promoted by leading drug education charity Mentor.

On Q9 (What impact - either positive or negative - will our proposals have on the 'protected characteristic' groups?)

Recommended response:

Children with certain ‘protected characteristics’ are at higher risk of sexual abuse and exploitation, for example disabled children and girls. Failure to teach these children the language to name external genitalia and about what happens in puberty and adolescence will further compound their risk. Equally, children with special educational needs may be particularly vulnerable to peer pressure around substance misuse or sexual exploitation and their needs are not catered for under current proposals.

Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young people must have visible provision within the National Curriculum as a whole (including science) and inclusive content that is not a bolt on. For example, language about human reproduction that refers to 'womb' ‘sperm’ and ‘egg’ as the vital components to making a baby supports inclusion. Information about assisted reproductive technologies (including IVF) will support inclusion of children and young people who might identify as LGBT, children whose parents identify as LGBT and children conceived
by assisted reproductive technologies.

Within science schools should be encouraged to raise awareness of intersex and transgender identities and that there may be a biological basis and a social basis to gender identity. This could be included as part of ‘how sex is determined in humans and other organisms’ under ‘Evolution, variation and genetics’ in science. Care should be taken not to confuse intersex conditions in both human and animal kingdom with transgender identities.

 

Please note that this news article is archived content from our old website and some internal links may not be working. If you need help finding information please get in touch with us at info@pshe-association.org.uk.


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