Last week's announcement that PSHE will no longer become compulsory in schools from 2011 fails to recognise the vital role that schools should play in pupils' personal, social and health education.
PSHE is an important part of the curriculum as it represents the school's responsibility to support children in becoming confident, well-rounded individuals who make good decisions about their own health and well-being.
Young people need more than a pile of certificates to survive in the world outside school. They need to be helped to become positive citizens. School should not just be about learning facts to pass exams. It is a time of development and discovery.
Much has been made of the fact that sex education will not become compulsory as a result of this recent Children, Schools and Families Bill not being passed. However, it must also be remembered a child's social education doesn't stop at just sex and relationship advice.
ASDAN has been promoting the personal and social development of young people since 1985 and has been running a PSHE GCSE equivalent qualification since September 2008, called the PSD programme. This includes guidance on sex education and covers a full spectrum of life skills crucial to young people's well-being, from healthy eating to financial awareness. Already over 1,500 schools are using the programme to great effect and we hope this number will continue to grow, despite the set-back of the recent policy U-turn.
We are hugely disappointed that this bill has failed to be passed as a result of political wrangling. The timing is also unfortunate as, with legislation being rushed through Parliament before the election, no party will want to be seen to be pulling in the same direction as another.
Maggie Walker, Deputy CEO and director of curriculum, ASDAN.