Labour commits to compulsory PSHE in schools

The Labour Party has committed to making Personal Social Health and Economic education (PSHE) compulsory in all state schools, warning that young people are facing a ’ticking time bomb’ of issues.

The announcement was made by Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell, who drew focus to the fact that access to new media and technology is creating ‘new and unprecedented risks for young people’.

According to Labour, a series of freedom of information requests (FOIs) to police forces revealed that the reports of under 16s ‘sexting’ has risen by 1,200 per cent over the last two years.

Powell warned that youngsters are ‘easily straying into sinister corners of the internet’ which can leave them vulnerable to exploitation, and said that ‘far more needs to be done to equip young people with the resilience and knowledge they need to stay healthy and safe in relationships both off and online, and to spot the signs and feel confident to report manipulation and exploitation’.

Criticising the fact that guidance for schools on sex and relationships education has not been updated since 2000, she said that PSHE as a statutory subject should include age-appropriate sex and relationships education and pledged that introducing compulsory PSHE in schools would be ‘one of the first things Labour does in government’.

Powell added: “If we fail to take action and support our young people with these issues now, there is a real chance this could impact school work and limit opportunities later down the line. So it is only right that there is dedicated time in the curriculum for providing young people with the information and knowledge that will help to keep them healthy and safe.”

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