Make PSHE lessons compulsory says Green Party MP

Following an unsuccessful attempt to introduce The PSHE Bill through Parliament in 2014, Lucas is again reintroducing the Bill in an attempt to stress the importance of the subject. This time, however, she plans to dispel the fear that people hold against PSHE, mainly in relation to its discussion of sex and sexualisation.

Lucas said: “A PSHE lesson for younger children wouldn't be exposing them to anything graphic or upsetting. It would work to improve children's grasp of what it means to give and receive consent generally. The idea is that this gives them the solid building blocks they need as they encounter more complicated situations as they get older.”

The national curriculum currently encourages schools to use the high quality teaching resources on offer to make provision for PSHE, but critics insist the subjects covered - mainly relating to health and wellbeing - are the concern of parents not schools.

Lucas’ proposed Bill would require PSHE to be a statutory subject for all state-funded schools in England and Wales and for the lessons to include Sex and Relationships Education (SRE). The proposed Bill will also accommodate education on ending violence against women and girls as well as high quality teacher training and guidance on best practice for delivering these lessons.

She continued: “Lessons which help keep young people safe, healthy and happy and aid employability shouldn't be subject to a postcode lottery. PSHE teaches young people the skills they need to make good choices and to think things through.”

Norman Wells, director of the Family education trust, has opposed the notion that schools should be made responsible and by moving emphasis to the schools, families would be undermined.

He said: “Most of the components of PSHE are the primary responsibility of parents; for example, nutrition and physical activity, drugs, alcohol and tobacco education, sex and relationships education, emotional health and wellbeing, safety and personal finance.

“If PSHE were to become a statutory part of the curriculum alongside other curriculum subjects, there would be a very real danger that parents would no more consider themselves responsible for these aspects of their children's physical, emotional and social development than they typically regard themselves as responsible for the teaching of English, maths, history and science.”

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