PSHE news digest 16-27 November

The chair of the Commons Education Select Committee has written to Nicky Morgan calling on her to “carefully consider” their recommendation to make PSHE education a statutory subject.
In his letter, Neil Carmichael states that the government’s response to a previous report into PSHE published by the committee has been “feeble”. The correspondence comes after the Independent on Sunday reported that the government was poised to rule out making PSHE statutory, to avoid being too prescriptive. Neil Carmichael’s letter criticises this suggestion, noting that the Committee’s recommendations for statutory PSHE avoid imposing a rigid curriculum.
The TES article and a link to the letter can be found here

The PSHE Association has also responded to the Independent article, which reported that statutory status for PSHE education is unlikely
Chief Executive Joe Hayman has written an article in PoliticsHome explaining why statutory PSHE would not be a ‘straightjacket’ for schools, but instead would tackle substandard teaching.
Joe Hayman's article can be read here.
An official comment has been posted on the PSHE Association website and can be read here along with a call to action, asking teachers and education professionals to write to Downing Street. Further details on the campaign can be found here.

A report from the Children’s Commissioner has found that only 1 in 8 children who are sexually abused are identified by professionals
The report calls for urgent action to improve the prevention and early identification of child sex abuse and the support provided for victims. Among the Children’s Commissioner’s recommendations are that “all schools equip all children, through compulsory lessons for life, to understand healthy and safe relationships and to talk to an appropriate adult if they are worried about abuse.” The report also calls for teacher training on how to recognise the signs of child abuse.
The full report can be found here

Nicky Morgan has stated that schools are ‘plagued’ by homophobic bullying
In her speech to a conference at Brighton College, the Education Secretary stated that “School bullies are pushing gay and lesbian teenagers to choose ‘safe’ career options, ‘screwing’ their future prospects” and reiterated that schools were still being “plagued” by homophobic bullying with many young people contemplating ending their lives.
As reported by the Telegraph “her remarks follow a survey in schools that showed that nine in ten teachers last year said there was homophobic bullying in the classroom.”
The full Telegraph article can be read here

‘More than one in ten teachers rate career advice as ‘poor’’
A new survey from the Telegraph has found that nearly half of teachers believe that the careers advice offered by schools is ‘inadequate or poor’, according to a new survey, with 13 per cent saying it is ‘poor or very poor’.
“Joe Hayman, chief executive of the PSHE association said: “It’s critical for young people and the economy as a whole that children and young people are prepared for the world of work.
“PSHE (personal, social, health and economic education) is the subject where pupils are supposed to develop entrepreneurial skills and it’s currently… being squeezed off the curriculum in many schools. Where it is taught, it is often by teachers who have no training in the subject.”
The full Telegraph article can be read here.

The NSPCC wrote an article for TES on how it can be hard for teachers to identify bullying and that regular PSHE lessons can be key
Writing for TES, Kay Joel of NSPCC said “We must teach children that speaking out is the only way to beat bullying…Ensuring your school has a robust and up-to-date anti-bullying policy and promoting a no-tolerance approach is essential to stopping bullying in its tracks. This can be done through regular assemblies, form time and PSHE lessons. At the NSPCC we believe that PSHE lessons are vital in helping children and young people understand the seriousness of bullying and the long-lasting devastating effects. These lessons can really help to ensure pupils know that if they tell someone about their concerns they will be taken seriously.”
The full article can be found here.

Eton College is funding research into what motivates young people to take so-called “legal highs”, with the aim of improving its drug education strategies.
The school’s deputy head, Dr Stephenson said “We work very hard on our education on drugs…in terms of education nationally, it’s something the government has to really consider, from a PSHE point of view, which the government doesn’t seem to be pushing now at all. It’s really important as actually the people who are the most vulnerable are adolescents.”
“The research has been welcomed by Joe Hayman, chief executive of the PSHE Association, which is campaigning for education on issues such as legal highs to be made statutory. He said: “This is really important research on a big issue facing both independent and state school pupils… "We are really pleased to see the recognition of the value of PSHE education from leading independent schools such as Eton College, and there is much that can be learned from their good practice.”"
The full TES article can be found here

Ofcom survey finds that children who have grown up with the internet 'believe everything they read online'
“Eight to 15-year-olds are spending twice as much time on the internet than they were ten years ago, Ofcom’s report into media attitudes among children and parents found.
And these so-called ‘digital natives’ – children who have grown up with the internet – often lack “online nous” to decide if what they see if true or impartial, the regulator concluded.
Almost one in 10 children who go online believe information from social media websites or apps is “all true” – doubling from last year – and most 12 to 15-year-olds are unaware that “vloggers”, or video bloggers, can be paid to endorse the products they promote.”
The full Telegraph article on the Ofcom survey can be found here

Disclaimer: The above does not reflect the views of the PSHE Association. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or quality of the external sites linked here.

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