The Department for Education today announced the conclusion of the PSHE education review, in response the PSHE Association has written the following note to our members:
The Department for Education has today issued the outcome of its personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education review.
In an accompanying statement Education Minister Elizabeth Truss said that PSHE “remains an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education” and that the DfE believes “all schools should teach PSHE, drawing on good practice”. She did however go on to stress that PSHE education overall would remain a non-statutory subject and that no new standardised frameworks or programmes of study would be provided for schools.
Given these announcements, we wanted to stress to you, our members, how critical your work on PSHE education remains and how we will continue to work on your behalf to raise the status and impact of PSHE education nationwide. We also wanted to thank you for your contributions to our submission to the PSHE review.
Statutory entitlement to PSHE education
Having pressed since our inception for a statutory entitlement to PSHE education for all pupils, we are of course deeply disappointed that it remains a non-statutory subject. We would like to emphasise, however, that all schools have a statutory duty to provide a curriculum that is broadly based, balanced, meets the needs of all pupils and:
- 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.
We believe that schools’ ability to meet these obligations can only be fulfilled if a comprehensive PSHE programme is in place and we will continue to make the case for this to be acknowledged in the national curriculum framework.
Even though PSHE is not statutory, it is worth noting that whole school (Section 5) Ofsted inspections take into account whether a school provides its pupils with a ‘broad and balanced curriculum that promotes their good behaviour and safety and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development’.
Ofsted recognises that PSHE education makes ‘an outstanding and sustained contribution to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development’ so when looking for evidence of SMSC it is likely to observe the PSHE provision in a school. Similarly, teaching about safety and relationships as part of PSHE education contributes to how schools approach safeguarding by equipping pupils with the skills to recognise when they and others are at risk and the skills, strategies and language they need to take appropriate action. PSHE education also provides schools with the ideal context in which to focus on Ofsted priorities such as preventing bullying, addressing homophobia and all forms of prejudice, including the use of prejudice-based language.
It is also important to note that if PSHE lessons are observed as part of a general school inspection that Ofsted will expect the same standards of teaching and learning as they would in any other subject. Poor PSHE education lessons can therefore affect a school’s overall judgment for quality of teaching.
Programmes of study
Today’s PSHE review states that there will be no new standardised frameworks or programmes of study. We will however be working with our partners in the sector to produce guidance to schools on developing their programmes of study and will provide further details on this very shortly. This will be a top priority for us in the coming weeks.
PSHE Association funding
Members will note reference in the Minister’s statement to the PSHE Association receiving funding from the DfE. Although this funding is significantly reduced, we are very pleased that this grant funding will enable us to signpost schools to high quality resources and to expand our Chartered Teacher programme, as well as working with our partners in the sector to promote the teaching of consent as part of sex and relationships education (SRE). We will provide further information about this and our future plans around paid membership services shortly.
PSHE remains a vital subject. Education is about preparation for life, not just preparation for exams. We will continue to lobby on behalf of our members at a national level for greater status for the subject, but we will also focus on our advice and support to teachers and schools in giving the high-quality PSHE education which every pupil needs and deserves. Our most pressing task, now that the PSHE review is complete, is to support schools in developing programmes of study fit for the needs of their pupils. We will make a further announcement about this very shortly.
Thank you again for all your incredibly valuable work and if you have any questions, please do get in touch.
Joe Hayman, Chief Executive
21 March 2013
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