10 February 2016
Commenting on Nicky Morgan’s refusal to make personal, social and health education (PSHE) and sex and relationships education (SRE) mandatory in schools, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
'The NUT is astonished and dismayed at the Government’s decision to reject the Education Select Committee’s recommendation that PSHE education should become a statutory subject in schools.
'In making this decision, the Government has ignored not only the Education Committee but also the Home Affairs Committee, the Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Chairs of the Commons Health and Business, Innovation and Skills Committees, Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, the Children’s Commissioner, the Chief Medical Officer, the Association for Directors of Public Health, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, the Association of Independent Local Safeguarding Children Boards Chairs, the NSPCC, two royal societies, six medical royal colleges, over 100 expert bodies, 85% of business leaders, 88% of teachers, 90% of parents and 92% of young people. This is an enormous and wide reaching coalition by anybody’s standards
'PSHE gives schools the opportunity to address many of the most pressing issues for young people today, including teaching pupils to stay safe online, promoting children and young people’s mental health and preventing radicalisation, child sexual exploitation and violence against women and girls.
'The failure of the Government to recognise the importance of this subject is close to a dereliction of duty. The lack of PSHE can certainly leave vulnerable young people at greater risk. PHSE is however we believe vital for all people.
'This is a short-sighted decision by Government. Teachers’ resolve to help keep children and young people healthy and safe will not be diminished. The NUT will continue to work with the PSHE Association and partners to call for statutory PSHE in schools.