Young people call for ‘life lessons’ in schools as Ministers prepare Select Committee response

A new survey of young people aged 12 to 15 has found that over 9 in 10 pupils who are taught PSHE education believe that all pupils should receive these lessons. The subject covers topics like mental health, employability skills and healthy relationships but is currently non-statutory, meaning provision is sub-standard in 40% of schools according to Ofsted.

89% of young people who had received these lessons also stated that teachers should be trained to ensure that PSHE is relevant and useful. Yet the recent Commons Education Committee inquiry into the subject, which took evidence from young people and youth organisations, concluded that standards were unacceptably low. The Committee’s landmark ‘Life Lessons’ report recommended the subject be made statutory to ensure high-quality lessons for every pupil.

Yesterday, Nicky Morgan announced that the Government will respond to this recommendation by 26 June. Ahead of this decision, a coalition of over 100 leading organisations, including Girlguiding, the British Youth Council and the National Union of Students have urged the Government to make the subject statutory, building on the UK Youth Parliament’s ‘curriculum for life’ campaign supported by hundreds of thousands of young people nationally.

Colum McGuire, Vice President (Welfare) at the National Union of Students, said:

“Students who have just been through the current system say PSHE is not good enough with over 90% believing the government needed to make it a statutory subject.”

“Students tell us they want to learn real life skills in the classroom – not just about relationships but about money, politics, mental health and, crucially, employability skills. We are absolutely committed to making that a reality.”

Mita Desai, Chair, British Youth Council said:

“Every piece of evidence and common sense advocates for a holistic ‘curriculum for life’ which includes PSHE. Schools should be able to ensure every young person has the opportunity to develop and thrive once they leave. That can only happen if they are prepared with the right amount of time set aside for PSHE.  Young people are calling on the Government to do the logical and morally right thing - ensure PSHE is statutory as soon as possible!” 

Girlguiding advocate Julia Peters said:

“PSHE is the one subject that prepares children for the rest of their lives yet it’s often cut from the timetable to make space for other subjects. This is why it’s so important to have statutory PSHE which covers so many areas, from bullying to healthy relationships.”

“Having time in school set aside to inform children and young people about issues and situations which they may encounter in their future is something that the government should be actively seeking to put into place.”

PSHE Association Chief Executive Joe Hayman said:

“Previous surveys show that 88% of teachers, 88% of parents and 85% of business leaders support statutory status for PSHE, as well as 100+ expert bodies. It is great to see that young people overwhelmingly back the campaign.”

“The Government now has the opportunity to listen to young people and the advice of the Education Committee, and make a real difference to the lives of pupils across the country by making PSHE education statutory.”



  1. PSHE education is a non-statutory school subject which teaches children the skills, knowledge and attributes to prepare for life and work. Topic areas include mental and physical wellbeing, healthy relationships, keeping safe, and skills for work.
  2. The PSHE Association is an independent charity, and the national subject association for personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education in England, providing advice and support to a network of over 8,500 teachers and other professionals working in schools across England.
  3. Research conducted by TNS Global, total sample size was 1001 12-15 year olds in the UK. Figures applicable to 630 respondents in England only who were aware of being taught PSHE lessons, of which 92% agreed that all young people should receive high quality PSHE lessons.
  4. For press or media enquiries between 9am - 5pm call John Dillon on 020 7922 7950. For out-of-hours inquiries, please call 077401 10186.
  5. A 2013 Ofsted review of PSHE provision in schools entitled ‘Not Yet Good Enough’ found that 40% of teaching was inadequate
  6. The Commons Education Committee inquiry reviewed the quality of PSHE education in schools, and ways to raise standards. The report was published on 17th February 2015 and concluded that PSHE education should be given statutory status.
  7. On June 15, Nicky Morgan confirmed in the Commons that the Government would respond to the report by 26 June:
  8. 120 leading organisations have signed a shared statement in favour of statutory PSHE education. Full list of signatories at:
  9. 18 Parliamentarians have signed a statement in support of statutory PSHE education, including 15 APPG Chairs.
  10. Research conducted by YouGov survey of 1,085 parents of children 18 or under found that 87% agree that PSHE education should be taught in all schools.

11.  Research conducted by YouGov survey of 722 senior decision makers from businesses in Britain found that 85% agree the subject should be on the national curriculum.


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