sexedThe National Children’s Bureau and the Sex Education Forum have welcomed the government’s announcement of a national inquiry into Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) and Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in schools.

The Education Select Committee Inquiry will ask whether PSHE ought to be a statutory part of the curriculum and investigate the quality of teaching of SRE – including in primary schools and academies.

Dr Hilary Emery, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau said: “Young people continually tell us they want an education that prepares them for life. PSHE and SRE are key to achieving this and help children in a variety of ways; for example, in developing safe and healthy relationships, building self-esteem and resilience, and understanding money and how to manage their finances.”

“The current situation, where PSHE is left to the discretion of schools, means that the teaching children receive in this vital subject lacks consistency. Making PSHE statutory would lead to improvements in the quality of provision, with better teacher training, assessment and closer inspection.”

“We are pleased that there will be cross-party focus on the future of PSHE and SRE in schools, and hope this results in a more secure future for the subject.”

Further reading: SEF unveil sex and relationships education programme to help prevent sexual exploitation

The Commons committee is seeking evidence before 6 June to debate whether:
- PSHE ought to be statutory in all schools
- The currently accountability system ensures sufficient focus on PSHE
- The overall provision of SRE in schools is sufficent esp. in primaries
- Recent additions to guidance on abuse, consent and cyber-bullying have been effective
- Is the effectiveness of SRE currently measured efficiently

Lucy Emmerson, Coordinator of the Sex Education Forum added: “The consensus of public support for SRE being taught in all schools has never been clearer. This inquiry is an important opportunity to look at how standards can be improved so that all children are guaranteed good quality SRE. We have also campaigned for statutory SRE within PSHE for many years and change is urgently needed.

“This inquiry is a final opportunity for the Coalition government to take decisive action to bring SRE up-to-date and to ensure that learning about consent, relationships and sex is included in the education of every child – as is their right.”