Accord responds to Government consultation on Personal, Social, Health and Economic education

November 11, 2011

The Accord Coalition has made a submission to the Department for Education’s consultation on how it should support schools to improve the quality of teaching of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, and has urged that better PSHE teacher training be made available and for the subject to made compulsory in all state funded schools.

Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain said ‘High quality PSHE, which includes age appropriate Sex and Relationships Education, improves children and young people’s health and wellbeing. Surveys show that parents also want children to receive PSHE, that children want to receive more and better quality PSHE and that teachers want extra support and materials to help in teaching it.

‘We therefore urge that all children have an entitlement to PSHE and that the subject be made a statutory part of schools’ curriculum. This would be uncontroversial as the proposal was supported during passage of the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010 by groups including the Catholic Education Service of England and Wales and the Church of England, as well all the main political parties. Meanwhile good schools already provide high quality PSHE, so the change would serve to help raise standards the most in those schools that currently let their children down in this area’.



More information about PSHE education can be found at the PSHE Association website.

Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) forms an integral part of PSHE and SRE provision in the UK currently lags behind that of many developed countries. A 2007 survey by the UK Youth parliament of over 20,000 young people found that shockingly 61 per cent of boys and 70 per cent of girls aged over 17 reported not receiving any information at school about personal relationships.

An Ofsted report on PSHE published in 2010 found that some aspects of SRE were less well taught, particularly relationships. Amongst the report’s key findings, it raised as an issue of concern over a lack of discrete curriculum time in a quarter of schools visited, particularly the secondary schools, which meant that programmes of study were not covered in full. The areas that suffered included aspects of sex and relationships education; education about drugs, including alcohol; and mental health issues that were not covered at all or were dealt with superficially.

The report Sex and Relationship Education: Views from teachers, parents and governors, commissioned by the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations, the National Association of Head Teachers, the National Governors Association and Durex, found that 90% of parents and 93% of Governors thought schools should be involved in providing SRE, but that 80% of teachers do not feel sufficiently well  trained and confident to talk about SRE. Only 9% of school leaders rated the teaching materials available to them as ‘very useful’. More than one in four school leaders and a fifth of governors believe that current SRE in schools is failing children by preparing them for the future ‘not well’ or ‘not at all well’.

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