PSHE Association responds to CBI-Pearson skills survey findings on school-leavers’ readiness for work

The PSHE Association has welcomed the publication of the annual CBI-Pearson education and skills survey, which outlines the need for school pupils to develop the skills and attributes we seek to build through PSHE education. Our own surveys of employers have echoed these findings and shown overwhelming support amongst business leaders for statutory status for PSHE education in order to develop those skills. The CBI-Pearson survey recommends further action to embed personal development in the education system and states:

“Businesses are clear that first and foremost they want to recruit young people with attitudes and attributes such as resilience, enthusiasm and creativity… School and college is not equipping all young people with what they need to succeed: around half of businesses are not satisfied with school leavers’… skills in communication, analysis and self-management.”

Responding on behalf of the PSHE Association, Chief Executive Joe Hayman said:

“This report is a challenge to government policy on schools, including in relation to PSHE education. Evidence shows that the skills and attributes identified in the CBI-Pearson survey are crucial to pupils’ life chances, yet PSHE education, the subject which focuses most directly on developing these skills and preparing pupils for the world of work, has a lower status than other school subjects.  

Research reviews by the Department for Education and the Education Endowment Foundation show strong evidence that the kind of classroom-based learning delivered through PSHE education has a significant impact on attitudes, skills and emotional outcomes. This is particularly important for disadvantaged pupils: the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission recommends ‘purposive’ action to develop these non-academic skills and attributes to tackle intergenerational disadvantage. More recent research from the Commission into non-educational barriers to top jobs demonstrates how disadvantaged pupils have fewer opportunities than their more advantaged peers to develop these skills.

PSHE education is already an expectation in independent schools and in order to narrow the gap, we recommend that this is also made an expectation for the state sector. 85% of business leaders support statutory status for PSHE education to ensure that all pupils develop these key skills. We call on government to listen to business leaders and give PSHE education the statutory status it needs.”


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