PSHE Association welcomes historic Government announcement on relationships & sex education and PSHE

  • PSHE Association welcomes  Justine Greening’s announcement of the Government’s intention to make relationships and sex education (RSE) statutory through the Children and Social Work Bill
  • The Government also opens door to making personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education statutory in its entirety following consultation. The PSHE Association will continue its campaigning on this issue and sees it as a real opportunity for change.
  • The PSHE Association calls it a ‘historic step’ towards education that keeps children and young people safe, healthy and prepared for life and work and looks forward to working with the DfE and schools to implement these changes.

The Education Secretary Justine Greening outlined historic steps today to improve relationships and sex education (RSE) and PSHE education in all schools. In a tabled amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill, the Education Secretary is due to propose regulations that would ensure:

  • All primary schools (including academies, free schools, independent schools) in England must teach age-appropriate ‘relationships education’;
  • All secondary schools (including academies, free schools, independent schools)  in England must teach age-appropriate ‘relationships and sex education’;
  • Updated guidance for schools on what to cover in RSE

The amendment would also give the Secretary of State power to make personal, social, health, and economic (PSHE) education statutory in its entirety, dependent on the outcome of a consultation. The Government intends to consult on this as well as the relationship between RSE and PSHE, providing further opportunity for the Association and partners to continue to make the case for broad, statutory PSHE education that not only covers RSE but issues such as alcohol and drugs, media literacy, mental health, physical health, online safety, tackling extremism and developing employability skills.

PSHE Association Chief Executive Jonathan Baggaley said:

“This is a historic step and a clear statement of intent from Government. Following years of campaigning we are delighted that Justine Greening has taken this vital step to respond to the clear call from parents, teachers and young people that education must prepare all children, in all schools, for the opportunities and challenges of modern life.

Relationships and sex education is a fundamental component of PSHE education so the immediate commitment to statutory RSE is welcome and we look forward to seeing further detail in the forthcoming policy statement.

The consultation on broader PSHE education is an opportunity to continue to make the case for this vital school subject and to ensure it meets the needs of children and young people in this fast moving world. Pupils deserve high quality PSHE education and any change must guarantee appropriate training, support and resources for teachers and schools.

We look forward to working with our partner organisations to ensure a broad PSHE education curriculum in all schools that develops the knowledge, skills and attributes young people need to be healthy, safe and thrive in life and work.”

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