Significant concerns raised about Conservative / Labour manifestos

The PSHE Association is concerned to see that both the Labour and Conservative manifestos fail to reference PSHE education.

While the Labour manifesto commits to statutory status for the sex and relationships education element of PSHE education, we are concerned that it contains no mention of the subject as a whole. Despite references to the importance of teaching about key issues addressed in PSHE education, such as mental health, healthy lifestyles, promotion of character and resilience, and challenging prejudice, without statutory status for PSHE education, a Labour Government could not guarantee that these subjects would be taught in schools.

PSHE Association Chief Executive Joe Hayman said:

"We are disappointed to see that the Conservative party have today failed to mention PSHE education within their manifesto, despite continued statements of support for the subject from the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan.

We are also concerned that, although Labour has made a welcome commitment to sex and relationships education, the manifesto makes no mention of PSHE education as a whole. While this could appear to some as a minor technical detail, the consequences are significant. The message to schools would be that there are two tiers within PSHE education, with the sex and relationships element to be prioritised over the other components of the subject, such as mental health and character education.

Two tiers are particularly unhelpful on matters such as prejudice-based bullying, with a welcome commitment from Labour that all children should learn to challenge homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, but no guarantee that they will also learn to challenge other prejudice, such as racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or disablism.

Coherent learning for pupils should dictate that the whole subject, not just one element of it (even a component as critical as sex and relationships education), should be made statutory."


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