News Digest 3 – 9 December

This week, PSHE education and sex and relationships education (SRE) were discussed in the Children and Social Work Bill debate and a debate on violence against women. The NSPCC released survey figures showing a large increase in hospital admissions for children that self-harm and the PSHE Association launched an updated version of our Programme of Study for PSHE Education (key stages 1-5), expanded to cover key stage 5.

Education Minister states that PSHE and SRE ‘a priority’ for the Secretary of State
MPs from across the political divide spoke powerfully during the Children and Social Work Bill debate about the need the improve PSHE and SRE’s status. Maria Miller, chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, said there was ‘overwhelming evidence’ of the need for change and that “children who have received sex and relationships education and PSHE more broadly are less likely to engage in risky behaviour and much more likely to seek help when things go wrong.”

In his response, Edward Timpson, the Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families said that: “This matter is a priority for the Secretary of State, so I have already asked officials to advise me further on it, but I will ask them to accelerate that work so that I can report on our conclusions at a later point in the Bill's passage, when everyone in the House will be able to look at them and have their say.”

Then during a Lord’s Select Committee session on ‘children and the internet’  Mr Timpson said that the DfE is actively considering where we go next in relation to PSHE and SRE, principally around quality and access.”

Role of education discussed during debate to mark UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
In the debate, Home Office minister Sarah Newton said that “we are absolutely determined to make sure we work with partners such as the PSHE Association, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, and the range of excellent charities that do so much in this space, to make sure we have highly effective communications to really educate young boys and girls about good, healthy and safe relationships.”

NSPCC report shows alarming rise in number of children admitted to hospital due to self-harm
Figures released by the NSPCC this week suggest that approximately 19,000 children were admitted to hospital after harming themselves last year. This alarming increase of 14% over the past three years has prompted the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) to highlight the need for more support for vulnerable young people and stress the importance of PSHE education to help address the problem.

Mr Max Davie from RCPCH said that schools should deliver comprehensive PSHE as this would teach children about “about emotional wellbeing and addressing challenging mental health issues such as eating disorders, self-harm and suicide - in addition to other important topics like positive relationships, sex education and the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse”

Updated Programme of Study for PSHE Education (key stages 1-5) launched
The PSHE Association launched an updated version of our PSHE Education Programme of Study (key stages 1 -5), which now includes the first ever programme of study for key stage 5. It is the only national, up-to-date programme of study for the subject and is regularly signposted to by the Department for Education for schools to use.

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