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Government debates need for PSHE in schools

New bill presented by Caroline Lucas for statutory lessons in England and Wales

Posted by Stephanie Broad | July 16, 2015 | People, policy, politics

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has urged education minister, Nicky Morgan, to introduce statutory personal, social and health education (PSHE) lessons for children. The bill presented to parliament seeks to make PSHE teaching compulsory in schools in England and Wales. Lucas says PSHE has, in addition to education about wellbeing and safety, “huge potential in relation to employability and academic attainment.”

Lucy Emmerson, coordinator of the Sex Education Forum, based at the National Children’s Bureau, said: “MPs from across political parties have shown support for PSHE and sex and relationships education (SRE) by voting in favour of Caroline Lucas’ PSHE Bill. This mirrors the public endorsement for these vital subjects and repeated calls from parents, children and teachers for a guarantee that every child receives good quality sex and relationships education.

“With the Government due to respond imminently to the Education Select Committee report, we urge bold action to implement statutory SRE and PSHE in all primary and secondary schools, putting an end to a situation where many children miss out on vital education about their health and wellbeing.”

Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive at the National Children’s Bureau, said: “The Education Select Committee Inquiry, after hearing evidence from teachers, policy experts, faith groups, charities and local authorities, concluded that the argument in favour of statutory PSHE and SRE had been won. Ministers must follow suit, and guarantee all pupils their right to vital ‘life lessons’ to prepare them for adulthood.

“In the months ahead we look forward to working with government, to ensure that the wide-reaching recommendations made by the Select Committee are implemented swiftly, so that legislation reflects the widespread support for PSHE amongst parents, pupils and professionals alike.” 

Furthermore, a new report from the Education Endowment Foundation says the use of philosophy in schools can help with core subjects like English and maths, underlining the need for statutory PSHE. 

Commenting on the report, Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “This is interesting and important research from the EEF. Whilst the core subjects such as English and maths are essential, the study of philosophy at an age appropriate level can add value and breadth, whilst bringing benefits back in the core subjects. 

"This study adds weight to the argument that a broad curriculum has advantages for students and that it does not conflict with the pursuit of academic rigour. That is why NAHT strongly supports calls for PSHE to become a statutory requirement in the curriculum.

“This week, the Secretary of State said that pupils’ happiness and wellbeing was as important as getting the best grades. There is now the political will to make PSHE the norm for all children. We should not miss that opportunity.” 

Follow the debate and have your say on Twitter using the hashtags #PSHE and #PSHEBill

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