The PSHE Association today welcomed a joint letter from the chairs of the Commons Education, Home Affairs, Health and Business, Innovation and Skills Committees calling on government to make PSHE education a statutory part of the curriculum. The letter describes PSHE as a crucial part of preparing young people for life, providing the knowledge and confidence to make decisions which will affect their health, wellbeing and relationships while developing the skills and attributes needed to secure employment and protect young people from abuse in many forms.
Chief Executive Joe Hayman said:
“A joint letter like this from four committee chairs is unprecedented and reflects the breadth of support behind statutory status for PSHE both in Parliament and in the country, with 85% of business leaders, 88% of teachers, 90% of parents and 92% of young people now in favour of statutory status.
As set out in today’s letter, there is clear evidence that PSHE education has the potential to help raise academic attainment, keep pupils healthy and safe and prepare them for life and work in modern Britain. That potential is, however, currently unfulfilled. Too often, non-specialist teachers or un-vetted external speakers lead PSHE lessons and the subject is given less curriculum time than others, with lessons increasingly delivered through tutor periods or off-timetable ‘drop down days’. This situation is deeply unsatisfactory, and the Commons Education Committee has said it is ‘deteriorating’.
Making PSHE education a statutory subject would ensure that schools understand that it should be taught in regular timetabled lessons by trained teachers, in line with expectations for other subjects. While not a panacea, statutory status would be a clear statement from government of raised expectations for the subject, with the onus then on the education community to meet those expectations. This would be a vastly preferable alternative to allowing an inadequate, and deteriorating, situation to continue."