Statutory PSHE: meaningful change supported by busy teachers & school leaders

A new report from a coalition of organisations including school leaders’ union NAHT, the National Education Union (NEU), NSPCC, Sex Education Forum, and PSHE Association, shows overwhelming support for making personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education a compulsory subject for all pupils in all schools.

The Statutory PSHE Education: meaningful change supported by busy teachers & school leaders report outlines how making PSHE statutory would have a meaningful impact on children and young people’s lives, in return for only a modest impact on workload and timetabling.

Sarah Hannafin, senior policy advisor for NAHT, said: “Almost everyone involved with the care, protection and education of children believes that PSHE is the best way to help prepare young people for the challenges they will encounter in their adult lives and the current challenges they face beyond the school gates. With ever-increasing expectations and responsibilities on schools, statutory PSHE would ensure some curriculum time is protected to enable children and young people to learn about key issues including physical and mental wellbeing, online safety, healthy relationships and preparation for the workplace.”

Over 90% of school leaders surveyed by NAHT support compulsory PSHE and 91% of National Education Union members want regular space on the curriculum for the subject. This mirrors support for PSHE from more than 90 per cent of young people, parents and experts alike. The Children’s Commissioner, the National Police Chiefs Council Lead for Child Sexual Abuse, the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, the Chief Medical Officer, Public Health England, teaching unions, four Commons Select Committees, two Royal societies and six Royal medical colleges all support mandatory PSHE.

Sarah Hannafin continued: “It’s important that PSHE is given statutory status. The school curriculum is over-stretched but it is vital that we give space to preparing pupils for their lives in the real world, not just for exams. The government is due to announce a crucial decision on the future of PSHE soon, and we really hope that they will listen to educators and experts by making the subject mandatory in all schools.”

PSHE Association Chief Executive Jonathan Baggaley said “Educators overwhelmingly support strengthening the status of PSHE education in all schools and agree with parents, experts, four select committees and young people themselves that this involves making the subject statutory. The way is clear for government to take this vital step”

The Statutory PSHE Education: meaningful change supported by busy teachers & school leaders report is co-authored and endorsed by organisations covering the breadth of PSHE education, from health to drugs education, financial education to relationships and sex: NSPCC; NAHT; NEU; Sex Education Forum; PSHE Association; Young Enterprise; British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance, British Red Cross (Every Child a Life Saver coalition); Brook; Mentor UK; Economy.


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