Women and Equalities Committee report recommends statutory PSHE

The PSHE Association has welcomed today’s report from the Women and Equalities Committee into sexual harassment and violence in schools, and its recommendation that the government makes PSHE education a statutory subject on the curriculum.

The report stresses the critical importance of good quality sex and relationships education (SRE) in helping to tackle sexual harassment in schools, but suggests that only a minority of schools currently deliver good PSHE teaching due to its non-statutory status on the curriculum. This, the report argues, undermines efforts to promote gender equality, healthy relationships and consent in schools.

As a result, the Committee recommends making the subject statutory as part of the forthcoming Education Bill, noting that the vast majority of parents, pupils and teachers also support statutory PSHE/SRE, along with health professionals, the police and other experts working in the field.

This is the fourth parliamentary select committee to call on the government to make this commitment, following previous recommendations from the Education Committee, the Home Affairs Committee and the Joint Committee on Human Rights in recent years.

PSHE Association Chief Executive Joe Hayman said:

“This report lays bare the extent of sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools, and puts PSHE education at the heart of efforts to address this deeply worrying trend. The Women and Equalities Committee is the fourth Parliamentary committee to recommend statutory PSHE, adding yet more momentum to the statutory status campaign.

They join the Chief Medical Officer, the Children’s Commissioner, the national police lead for child sexual exploitation, two royal societies, five leading unions, and six medical royal colleges. Statutory status is also backed by 100 leading organisations (including the NSPCC, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, the Association of Chairs of Local Safeguarding Children Boards, Stonewall, Girlguiding and the Children’s Society), not to mention 85% of business leaders, 88% of teachers, 92% of parents and 92% of young people. The time has come for government to act”.

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