17 February 2015
Commenting on the report of the Education Select Committee, Life Lessons: PSHE and SRE in Schools, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The NUT welcomes this hard-hitting report. The Select Committee was told by Schools Minister Nick Gibb that the Government pinned its hopes for the future of PSHE on decisions by individual schools to ‘opt in’ to the subject. The Committee has completely rejected this idea. In doing so, it has dealt another blow to the Government’s laissez-faire approach to educational provision.
“The NUT agrees with the Committee that improving PSHE and SRE in schools requires not just strong guidance to schools on the allocation of time and the quality of content, but also attention to questions of teacher supply and teachers’ professional development. These are issues for central government. The Union notes, however, that the Committee was completely unconvinced that the Government was addressing them. PSHE and SRE are far too important to be treated half-heartedly by policy-makers.
“The problems identified by the Select Committee suggest that there is something seriously wrong with the model of the school curriculum developed under Michael Gove. We have a curriculum that focuses narrowly on a small range of subjects, and has no place for wider issues of pupil development. The Select Committee has given policy-makers further evidence that this is a situation which must not be allowed to continue.”