In a new report published today, the House of Commons Education Select Committee has called for personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, including sex and relationships education (SRE), to become a statutory subject in all English state schools. The call has been welcomed by the British Humanist Association (BHA), which has been campaigning for the same goal, responded to the Select Committee’s call for evidence, and is supporting both the Sex Education Forum’s ‘SRE – It’s my right’ campaign and the PSHE Association’s campaign for statutory PSHE.
In its report, the Education Select Committee calls for:
- PSHE and SRE to be made statutory, with SRE a part of PSHE and the Government introducing a compulsory curriculum
- The Government ‘takes steps to incentivise schools to raise the quality of PSHE and SRE’, including monitoring schools’ websites
- Ofsted to resume subject-specific inspections in PSHE – something it recently stopped doing
- The Government to formally endorse and reissue the advice produced last year by the Sex Education Forum, PSHE Association and Brook
- Continuing professional development for PSHE teachers to be introduced, ‘with the aim of ensuring that all primary and secondary schools have at least one teacher who has received specialist training in PSHE’
The campaign for statutory PSHE and SRE has been growing in momentum. Just yesterday, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Nursing, Faculty of Public Health, Association of Directors of Public Health and British Association for Sexual Health and HIV signed a letter in The Times making the same call.
BHA Education Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘We welcome the Education Select Committee’s call for PSHE and SRE to become a statutory subject. All the best evidence shows that providing young people with full, comprehensive, and age-appropriate PSHE and SRE leads to the best outcomes in terms of health, wellbeing and happy relationships. Parents have an important role to play in helping shape any sex education that children receive at school, but we cannot rely on parents to provide such education, as many will not have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to do so, or might leave it too late. In some cases, this may lead to safeguarding issues, or leave unaddressed homophobic and transphobic bullying at home. Therefore it is right that schools should provide such education, through high-quality, specially trained teachers.’
The Sex Education Forum is calling on people to write to their MPs about SRE ahead of the House of Commons’ scheduled second readings of the PSHE and SRE Bills: http://act.lifewithhiv.org.uk/lobby/SREbills
For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson on 020 7324 3072.
Read the Education Select Committee’s announcement: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/education-committee/news/pshe-sre-report/
Read the report, published today: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmeduc/145/145.pdf
Read the BHA’s submission to the Education Select Committee’s inquiry: https://humanism.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Commons-Education-Select-Committee-PSHE-and-SRE-inquiry-Written-submission-from-the-British-Humanist-Association.pdf – the BHA’s submission was cited in the final report
Read more about the BHA’s work on PSHE and SRE: https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/schools-and-education/school-curriculum/pshe-and-sex-and-relationships-education/
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.
The BHA is a member of both the Sex Education Forum and the PSHE Association.