Making personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education statutory is a movement being supported by Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens and the Office of Sexual Health for the South West.
Tackling the issue nationally by bringing it to the forefront of the Government’s agenda is the aim of the campaign being led by Northumbria PCC and Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Vera Baird and uniting PCCs and Directors of Public Health across the country.
PSHE education is an area PCC Sue Mountstevens has always championed, participating in a number of Government consultations and becoming a signatory of the PSHE pledge.
Ms Mountstevens said: “We are fortunate to live in a world where we have access to information and have the ability to raise awareness amongst our young people of what makes a healthy relationship. We all want our children to grow up happy and healthy, with positive relationships based on empathy and respect.
“Prevention is crucial in eradicating crimes such as domestic and sexual abuse and an important way of eliminating this behaviour for future generations to come is to mainstream discussions about healthy relationships into our children’s education.”
PSHE education is the part of the curriculum in which pupils learn how to stay healthy and safe and prepare for life and work. Currently, schools are only required to make provision for PSHE education from the age of 11 and only in maintained schools, not academies.
Sue added: “Educating our young people to stay healthy and safe also helps in our efforts to raise awareness of emerging crime, such as child sexual exploitation. The more we can teach and know about what constitutes a healthy relationship, the more we can do to recognise unwanted behaviour, challenge it and put a stop to it.
“I am proud to say we have some fantastic organisations in Avon and Somerset that are working hard to have these conversations and address healthy relationships with our young people locally. It is now time for the Government to recognise the importance of making PSHE statutory and take action to roll this out.”
The PSHE Association have found pupils agree that PSHE education is a vital part of their preparation for life, with 92% of those who have been taught the subject believing all young people should receive high-quality PSHE lessons.
Yet despite its importance and the evidence of its potential, the subject isn’t statutory, meaning that millions of pupils miss out on the high-quality learning they need and deserve.
Professor Mark Pietroni, Chair of the Office of Sexual Health for the South West said: “Good quality sex and relationship education (SRE) in schools is an important part of preparing young people for healthy relationships as adults. The Office of Sexual Health for the South West has worked in partnership to develop and disseminate materials for use in schools. Due to the pressures on the school day, time for SRE can be limited, which is why the Office of Sexual Health SW supports the call for mandatory SRE in schools.”
For more information about PSHE education and how to sign the PSHE pledge visit – www.pshe-association.org.uk.
If you are a teacher, parent, classroom assistant or someone who cares about protecting our young people, PCC Vera Baird is gathering views and asking local people to get in contact by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on Wednesday 31st August 2016