sexedWith Ofsted saying that more than a third of schools fail to provide pupils with adequate sex and relationships lessons, the Education Committee have announced an inquiry into PSHE and SRE education in schools.

The Committee believe that many personal, social, heath and economic education (PSHE) lessons avoid discussing controversial topics such as sexual abuse, homosexuality and pornography as too many teachers lack the expertise to tackle them.

According to Ofsted, many PSHE lessons 'are not good enough' and 40% of schools needed to improve in this area. School inspectors have also cited that secondary school pupils should learn more about pornography, relationships, sexuality and staying safe, rather than just the “mechanics” of reproduction.

This review has been welcomed by the Personal Social Health & Economic Education (PSHE) Association, who’s chief executive Joe Hayman said:“The Committee is asking all the right questions about PSHE education and at the right time, so we look forward to working with our members and colleagues across the PSHE community over the coming weeks on our response to the inquiry. Ofsted said last year that PSHE education was ‘not yet good enough’; we hope the Committee will help us to improve that position.”

With submissions due by 6th June, the issues that need to be reviewed are:
• Whether PSHE ought to be statutory, either as part of the National Curriculum or through some other means of entitlement.
• Whether the current accountability system is sufficient to ensure that schools focus on PSHE.
• The overall provision of Sex and Relationships Education in schools and the quality of its teaching. including in primary schools and academies.
• Whether recent government steps to supplement the guidance on teaching about sex and relationships, including consent, abuse between teenagers and cyber-bullying, are adequate.
• How the effectiveness of SRE should be measured.including in primary schools and academies.