Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, will present a bill in Parliament later today which aims to make Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) a statutory requirement in schools.
Lucas, who will introduce the Ten Minute Rule Bill to Parliament after Prime Minister’s Questions later today, is urging the school’s minister Nicky Morgan to back calls for statutory PSHE lessons. The Secretary of State recently delayed the Government’s response to the Education Select Committee, who in February this year, backed the call for compulsory PSHE and Sex Education.
Lucas said: “Lessons which help keep young people safe, healthy and happy and aid employability shouldn’t be subject to a postcode lottery. PSHE is a crucial part of a child’s education.
“Shining examples of good PSHE provision exist – like Patcham High in my Brighton constituency – showing the wide range of benefits associated with giving every child this learning opportunity. As well as being an essential part of safeguarding our children, PSHE has huge potential in relation to employability and academic attainment. PSHE teaches young people the skills they need to make good choices and to think things through. It’s not rocket science that these skills have benefits well beyond the classroom.”
“The last statutory SRE Guidance was produced 15 years ago. We’ve had a thorough cross party inquiry recommending statutory status and Minister’s say PSHE is needed and important. So it’s time for Government action.”
Over 100 leading organisations have joined the PSHE Association campaign for statutory PSHE education. From Mumsnet to Stonewall; from Girlguiding to the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners. Union backing comes from heads, teachers, students and nurses, including the National Association of Head Teachers, the ATL, the NUT, the NUS and the RCN.
The cross party Education Select Committee backed Statutory PSHE last year.
Lucas is hoping for support from across the House of Commons. She’s particularly keen to dispel the myths that surround PSHE. She said:
“I know that some people fear that PSHE can expose children to sexualisation but the exact opposite is true. A PSHE lesson for younger children wouldn’t be exposing them to anything graphic or upsetting. It would work to improve children’s grasp of what it means to give and receive consent generally. The idea is that this gives them the solid building blocks they need as they encounter more complicated situations as they get older. Good quality PSHE, which is what this is all about would always be age appropriate and that’s why teachers need the training statutory status would give.”
Supporters of the bill are being asked to tweet using the hashtag #PSHEBill
The PSHE Bill will be available tomorrow.