The House of Lords debated a range of PSHE education related amendments to the Children and Families Bill this week. While these amendments did not pass, the debate highlighted a range of important developments, including:
The requirement on schools to publish PSHE curriculum details on their website
The Department for Education (DfE) issued a specific requirement recently for schools to include details of their PSHE provision when publishing their curricula online. It applies to all schools, including free schools and academies. This story featured on the Daily Telegraph’s front page yesterday and you can read our full update for members here. To help schools decide what to include in their PSHE curricula, the DfE has recommended they consult our Programme of Study.
We also recommend that schools:
- Read our new guidance for schools on writing their PSHE education policies
- Read our guidance on new Ofsted grade descriptors for PSHE education and their implications for your practice
- Join the PSHE Association for tailored support, high quality resources and many other benefits
The PSHE Association will chair a new PSHE education expert group
In Tuesday’s Lords debate, Education Minister Lord Nash announced that this group “will clarify the key areas on which teachers most need further support and identify the topics that can present the greatest challenge…” adding that it will “liaise with relevant specialists and providers to commission or develop and produce new resources where necessary”. The DfE is supporting similar groups for other subjects so we are delighted that there will be a new group for PSHE. We are at the early stages of planning this and will update you soon.
Grant funding for the PSHE Association from the Department for Education
Lord Nash also confirmed that the DfE will continue to grant fund the PSHE Association in 2014-15. We are still discussing the grant details with DfE, but know that it will be for a reduced amount and will form only a small proportion of our overall income. Nevertheless, we are grateful that the financial stability this funding provides will help us to keep our membership fees and other services affordable this year.
DfE will promote new Sex and Relationships Education advice from the PSHE Association, Brook and the Sex Education Forum
As we recently announced, we will work with Brook and the Sex Education Forum to produce supplementary advice to the DfE’s statutory guidance on SRE, to be published at the end of February. In the Lords debate, Lord Nash confirmed that while the DfE has not commissioned this advice, it will help us and our partners to promote it to schools.
Liberal Democrats confirm support for statutory PSHE education
Speaking in Tuesday’s debate, Liberal Democrat peer Lady Walmsley stated that the party’s position is that PSHE: “should be in a slimmed-down national curriculum and should be taught in all schools, including academies, as a right of all children” . We welcome this commitment and hope to secure similar commitments from other parties in the run up to the election.
Commenting on the above developments, Association Chief Executive Joe Hayman said:
“These are positive developments, and while none are a substitute for statutory PSHE – an objective for which we will continue to fight – they boost our efforts to improve PSHE education for all pupils.
We are also pleased at the recognition we and our partners at Brook and the Sex Education Forum have received for our upcoming supplementary sex and relationships advice. While this is no substitute for Government action to update its own guidance and make the subject statutory, we trust our advice will prove useful to schools.
Initiatives such as this - and our new guidance for schools on producing their PSHE policies - show that we are not waiting for Government but seeking to help our members directly. We are disappointed that political leaders have not grasped the opportunity to make PSHE education statutory but we are encouraged by the growing movement for better PSHE education, supported by a large and growing coalition of opposition leaders, charities, parents, pupils and of course teachers.
We will keep playing a leading role in seeking to make high quality PSHE education a reality for all pupils."
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