News Digest 20 – 24 February

This week we opened bookings for our annual conferences 2017. HIV Awareness in PSHE Lessons was discussed in the House of Commons. The Health Committee published the evidence it received in response to its mental health in schools inquiry. The Scottish Education and Skills Committee published the information it received in its Personal and Social Education inquiry. Finally some written questions were answered by the Government. 

PSHE Association Annual Conferences 2017
We are delighted to launch our Annual Conference events in Leeds on June 22nd and London on June 29th. The conferences will offer a mixture of practical workshops and though provoking keynotes to inform PSHE education practice in schools.

Click here for more information on both conferences, including pricing and location. 

HIV Awareness in PSHE Lessons
On Friday 24, Conservative MP Mike Freer raised the issue of HIV awareness in sex and relationship education in schools in aHouse of Commons adjournment debate. He stressed the importance of the role of education in improving public health and fighting HIV.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities Caroline Dinenage acknowledged the serious health concern HIV/AIDS pose and stated that more can be done in PSHE and SRE to tackle this issue. She said:

“SRE is often taught as part of PSHE, and effective PSHE teaching makes a critical contribution to a broad and balanced curriculum in schools that promotes pupils' spiritual, moral, cultural, social, mental and physical development.

PSHE is a non-statutory subject, but we know that many schools and teachers already recognise the importance of good PSHE education, and know that healthy, resilient, confident pupils are better placed to achieve academically and be stretched further. We want to help all schools to deliver high quality PSHE and SRE so that all young people are equipped to have healthy and respectful intimate relationships at the appropriate age, and leave school with the knowledge, skills and attributes to prepare them for life and work in modern Britain.

That is why we are committed to exploring all the options to improve the delivery of SRE and PSHE.”

Written evidence children and young people’s mental health inquiry published
This week the written evidence submitted to the Health Committee in its ‘children and young people’s mental health – role of education’ inquiry. Many respondents asked for statutory PSHE for all ages in their recommendations to the Government.

You can read the PSHE Association submission to the inquiry here, where we collate evidence that PSHE education provides the ideal means through which mental health and emotional wellbeing can be covered on the school curriculum, but needs to be statutory in order to be universally effective.

The NSPCC said: “We believe that the provision of PSHE should extend to primary and secondary schools,” whilst the Children’s Society remarked that: “We believe PSHE offers an opportunity to improve children’s satisfaction with their school life and well-being by providing children with an understanding of mental health and well-being issues and guidance on where to seek help.”

The Royal College of Psychiatrists said: “The Green Paper on Children’s Mental Health is a real opportunity to tackle this, including the potential for Ofsted to have a much greater focus on PSHE and emotional and mental health support rather than short term academic results,” and Girlguiding recommended the Government to “teach wellbeing through compulsory PSHE. Girlguiding believes that all children should receive support at school for their emotional as well as their physical wellbeing. This should include support to build resilience and understand pressures and how to manage them.”

Written evidence Personal and Social Education (PSE) Scotland inquiry published
On February 20th, the Scottish Education and Skills Committee publish the information it received in its PSE inquiry. The PSHE Association was invited to submit evidence and contributed a one-page briefing outlining what we believe PSE cover.

The Scottish PSE curriculum is different to the PSHE curriculum in England but there are a number of overlaps. You can read here for instance about how guidance we and others have produced can support the ‘health and wellbeing’ aspect of the PSE curriculum.

Written questions on PSHE and SRE
Three written questions were answered this week:

  • Roger Godsiff MP asked what information the Department of Education holds on the number of academies and maintained secondary schools that teach sex and relationship education. Edward Timpson answered that data on the curriculum provision of individual schools are not collected by that sex education is compulsory in all maintained schools.
  • Roger Godsiff asked whether Ofsted’s inspection of sex and relationship education includes an assessment of whether the curriculum is inclusive of LGBT young people. Nick Gibb answered that this is matter for HM Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman and passed the question on to her.
  • Jim Shannon asked what educational programmes are available to youth bodies to help support young people who are victims of domestic abuse. In her answer, Sarah Newton referred to the Home Office ‘Disrespect NoBody’ campaign, which includes free PSHE education teaching resources created by the PSHE Association.



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