News Digest 26 – 30 June

This week the UK Youth Parliament launched its #PSHE4ME campaign for high quality, statutory PSHE for all. Stonewall called for LGBT inclusive statutory PSHE in its 2017 School Report. NAHT responded to the Education Policy Institute (EPI) report on social media and mental health and wellbeing, by calling for statutory PSHE. Finally, Education Secretary Justine Greening and Minister Nick Gibb answered a number of parliamentary questions on relationships and sex education (RSE).

UK Youth Parliament launches #PSHE4ME campaign
The UK Youth Parliament launched its #PSHE4ME campaign on Monday 26th of June, urging young parliamentarians to lobby MPs and educational settings for high quality, statutory PSHE in all schools, delivered by trained teachers. The campaign was chosen by over 142,000 young people as the priority UKYP campaign in England this year. You can read more about it here, and we look forward to supporting the UKYP with it throughout the year.

Stonewall calls for statutory in 2017 School Report
Stonewall has published its 2017 School Report this week and though it shows progress regarding reduced levels of LGBT bullying in schools, some of the figures are alarming, suggesting that almost half of all LGBT pupils still face bullying at school for being LGBT, and more than two in five trans young people have tried to take their own life.

In its recommendations, Stonewall calls on the DfE to “consult on, and introduce, statutory PSHE that is inclusive of LGBT issues and of which RSE is a component.”

NAHT calls for statutory PSHE to improve online safety
The Education Policy Institute (EPI) launched a report on the relationships between young people’s use of social media and their emotional and mental wellbeing. In response to the report the NAHT called for statutory PSHE to adequately improve online safety.

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the NAHT, said:  "We look forward to seeing the government's Internet Safety Strategy this summer. This must be clear that responsibilities are wide, with much social media use happening beyond the school gates. This must include giving teachers the tools they need, and reiterate the government's commitment to statutory PSHE. One of the best forms of safeguarding is to set aside time to talk to children about the potential dangers of the internet, and to teach them how to stay safe online outside of school. Space in the curriculum for this is essential now more than ever."

Written questions and oral evidence

  • Theresa Villiers asked whether the Secretary of State plans to publish her plans for ensuring the content of relationships education in primary schools is age appropriate. Nick Gibb answered that the Department for Education intends to begin a thorough and wide ranging engagement on both relationships education and RSE shortly, and that this will determine the content of the statutory guidance.
  • Maria Miller asked what progress is being made on regulations to make relationships and sex education compulsory. Justine Greening answered the Government will shortly set out its plan for how it will take the review forward.
  • Andrew Selous asked whether the Government plans to consult on proposed changes to relationships and sex education. Nick Gibb answered that the Department for Education will be conducting a thorough engagement process on the scope and content of RSE and relationships education, involving many stakeholders including schools and teachers, parents and pupils, safeguarding and child wellbeing experts, subject experts and voluntary organisations.
  • Diana Johnson asked what the timetable is for deciding the content of RSE, and what the Secretary of State’s policy is on the requirement for schools to teach RSE from September 2019. Nick Gibb answered that the Government will give more details about the process shortly and that intends to conduct a thorough and wide ranging engagement process to determine the content of the regulations and statutory guidance. 

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