ASDAN supports MPs' calls for statutory PSHE and SRE

Published

ASDAN welcomes today’s recommendations from the Education Select Committee calling for statutory PSHE and sex and relationships education in schools.

The committee has published a new report, Life lessons: PSHE and SRE in schools, which states that there is “overwhelming support” from teachers, pupils and parents for these subjects to be given statutory status.

Maggie Walker, chief executive of ASDAN, said: “The select committee is absolutely right in recommending statutory status for PSHE and SRE in schools, delivered in an age-appropriate way. As advocates of building character and resilience in young people, we want to see pupils being given the tools to look after themselves and others, and to make informed choices about the personal decisions that will affect them as they move into adulthood.

“There is nothing more important than safe-guarding our young people. For too long, ministers have devalued these subjects, often with the consequence that they are taught poorly, or not at all. By making them statutory, we would see PSHE and SRE receiving the status they rightly deserve, and teachers being trained appropriately to deliver this challenging, but vital, part of the curriculum.”

The MPs’ recommendations include:

  • The Department for Education should develop a work plan for introducing age-appropriate PSHE and SRE as statutory subjects in primary and secondary schools
  • All schools should be required to run a regular consultation with parents on the school’s SRE provision
  • Funding of continuous professional development for PSHE teachers should be reinstated
  • Ofsted should resume its regular subject surveys of PSHE provision

Graham Stuart, chair of the Education Committee, said: “Young people have a right to information that will keep them healthy and safe. SRE forms an important part of any school’s efforts to safeguard young people from abuse, and is particularly needed to protect the most vulnerable children.

“PSHE builds character and resilience, and will help young people to live happy and healthy lives.”

The committee also concluded that the government’s current strategy for improving PSHE was weak, and that there was a mismatch between the priority that government claims it gives to PSHE and the steps it had taken to improve the quality of teaching in the subject.