News Digest 1 – 6 January

This week the Children’s Commissioner published a report highlighting the urgent need for measures to keep children and young people safe and informed when online. Another review, funded by the NIHR and published in December 2016, concluded that sex and relationships education (SRE) is poorly delivered in many schools.

Children’s Commissioner publishes report on  online safety and skills to negotiate the online world
Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, published a report this week in which she called for all children to study ‘digital citizenship’ so that they are best prepared to stay safe and aware online.

In response to the ‘Growing Up Digital’ report, NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby called for statutory PSHE, saying that PSHE would provide curriculum space for the discussion of a variety of important issues – not just online safety and digital understanding, but also some of the concerns that children might turn to the internet to learn about, like relationships and sexuality. This is one of the reasons NAHT has long called for PSHE education to be made compulsory.”

The PSHE Association also welcomed the report, with Chief Executive Jonathan Baggaley saying:“We welcome this report and believe that PSHE education provides a framework through which the skills it calls for can be effectively developed, as part of a holistic approach that addresses healthy and safe relationships, emotional wellbeing and the ability to critically consume information offline as well as in the digital world.

View our full response here.

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded review finds that SRE is poorly delivered in many schools
An NIHR-funded review sought to establish the quality of sex and relationships education (SRE) provision in the UK. Synthesised results from 55 studies on young people and SRE in schools suggest that that current SRE provision often fails to go far enough to help protect children from harmful relationships, promote sexual health or cover various modern issues such as sexting.

The review suggests that the format and content of SRE classes needs to be better aligned with the views of young people and Government guidance may need to be updated.

Press coverage in advance of Monday’s speech by Theresa May on mental health
Theresa May is due to deliver a speech on Monday (9 January) pledging more help for people with depression and moves to reduce number of suicides. The Prime Minister is expected to outline steps schools can take to better identify and help the growing number of pupils who are becoming mentally vulnerable, sometimes as a result of sexting, bullying and pressure to do well in exams. The speech has been trailed in the press today (Friday), for example in the Guardian and Times.



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