Call for statutory PSHE education by MPs


Four select committee chairs have written a joint letter to the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, calling for statutory status for Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education.

The education, health, home affairs and business committee chairmen want PSHE, which covers sex education, made statutory in primaries and secondaries.

The government has a range of objectives it wants to achieve through schools alongside academic learning, including promoting online safety and healthy lifestyles, tackling child sexual exploitation and preventing radicalisation and extremism.

According to the Chairs, Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education lessons are the natural place to address such issues and there is also evidence that when taught well, the subject also helps pupils to succeed academically and in the workplace.

The chairmen's letter said: "We write to express our disappointment with your response so far to the issue of the statutory status for PSHE and sex and relationships education in schools.

"PSHE is a crucial part of preparing young people for life. It can provide them with the knowledge and confidence to make decisions which affect their health, well-being and relationships, now and in the future.

"It can develop the skills and attributes needed to secure employment and can help protect young people from abuse in many forms."

According to PSHE Association Chief Executive, Joe Hayman: "There is clear evidence that PSHE lessons can help to break cycles of abuse, teenage pregnancy, alcohol, tobacco and drug misuse, removing barriers to learning and improving life chances; the characteristics developed in PSHE education are crucially important to employers but research from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has shown that disadvantaged pupils have fewer opportunities than their more advantaged peers to develop them; and evidence suggests that the attainment of disadvantaged pupils is particularly well supported by learning in PSHE education.

"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."

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