COMMONS

PSHE to be statutory in all schools Chairs' letter urges

08 January 2016

The Chairs of Education, Health, Home Affairs, and Business, Innovation, and Skills Committees have joined forces to call on the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, to move towards PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) becoming statutory in all schools.

The Chairs of the Committees signing the letter are:

Government misses deadline

The Government has missed its own deadline for responding in full to the Education Committee’s recommendation to make PSHE statutory in all schools. Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State, promised to return to the issue of statutory PSHE before the end of 2015, but has yet to do so.

Chair's comment

Neil Carmichael, Chair of the Education Committee, said:

"A number of cross-party parliamentary committees and prominent Government advisers have concluded it is essential PSHE is taught in all schools. As Chairs of four Select Committees, it is clear to us that the Secretary of State must work towards making PSHE and SRE statutory in all schools, and we urge Nicky Morgan to make tackling issue of  the PSHE in schools her New Year’s resolution.
 
The Government's strategy for improving PSHE in schools is weak and Ofsted has highlighted that PSHE requires improvement in 40% of schools. The Education Committee in the previous Parliament recommended introducing statutory status for PSHE, a move which could have a significant impact in preparing young people for life, providing them with the knowledge and confidence to make decisions which will affect their wellbeing and relationships, both now and in the future.

The Secretary of State promised to report back to my Committee by the end of 2015: it’s now time she responds in full and outlines her strategy for improving the quality of PSHE teaching in the nation’s schools."

Background

In February, Education Committee published a report "Life lessons: PHSE and SRE in schools (PDF 1.5MB)" which recommended that the Department for Education should "develop a workplan for introducing age-appropriate PSHE and RSE as statutory subjects in primary and secondary schools, setting out its strategy for improving the supply of teachers able to deliver this subject and a timetable for achieving this".

The Government’s response dismissed or ignored many of the Committee’s recommendations. In the context of statutory status, it promised that the Department would "consider in full the arguments put forward by the Select Committee" before "reporting back later this year".

On 25 November 2015, Neil Carmichael, Chair of the Education Committee, wrote to the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, on the issue of statutory status for PSHE. Read the letter to the Secretary of State.

Further information

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