MPs call on government to make PSHE statutory in schools as 'new year resolution'

Eleanor Busby

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MPs have joined forces to urge the education secretary to make sex and relationship education statutory in all schools.

Four select committee chairs have requested that Nicky Morgan makes tackling the issue her “new year’s resolution” after delaying a response to the campaign.

In the letter to the secretary of state, the chairs of the education, health, home affairs and business, innovation and skills committees argue that the campaign should be brought to the fore as “it is essential that the subject is taught in schools”.

According to the MPs, the government has missed its deadline of responding in full to the education committee’s recommendation, from February last year, that personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) should be introduced as a statutory subject in primary and secondary schools.

The letter argues that PSHE is a “crucial part of preparing young people for life” as it helps them make decisions that will affect their health, wellbeing and relationships. It can also help them develop skills for employment and protect “young people from abuse in many forms”, according the select committee chairs.

Neil Carmichael, chair of the education committee, said: “The government's strategy for improving PSHE in schools is weak and Ofsted has highlighted that PSHE requires improvement in 40 per cent of schools.”

On the government’s delay, he added: “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.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We want all young people to leave school equipped with a curriculum for life that prepares them to succeed in modern Britain, and the teaching of PSHE is central to that plan.

“We are working with head teachers and other experts to understand how best to achieve high-quality PSHE for every pupil."

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Eleanor Busby

Eleanor Busby is a reporter at TES 

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