Until 30 November the Department for Education are running a Review of Personal, Social, Health and Economics (PSHE) Education
, including Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), with the aim of improving its quality in state-funded schools.
The BHA has published its draft response to the Review, and has briefed the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG) in support of this. We are now urging members and supporters to also respond before the November 30 deadline.
You can respond online on the DfE website.
What’s the problem?
An important feature of PSHE is SRE, and the British Humanist Association is a long-term advocate
of every young person being entitled to high quality, comprehensive and age-appropriate SRE, with no opt-outs for ‘faith’ schools. Research shows that the current arrangements for SRE, where schools are required only to teach the basics about human reproduction, mean that the quality of the subject varies greatly from school to school. Furthermore, we have additional concerns about how SRE is taught in ‘faith’ schools, if it is taught at all. We know from our work on this subject that religious authorities are keen for state-funded ‘faith’ schools to be able to teach SRE from subjective, religious perspectives and this is something we oppose. We believe that PSHE, including SRE, should be compulsory, with no parental right of withdrawal, or the ability for schools to amend the way in which it is provided.
The Government has set out in the remit of the Review
that it ‘has already ruled out making PSHE education as a whole a statutory subject within the National Curriculum.
’ This is hugely disappointing, especially given that proposals under the previous Government to make PSHE, including SRE, a part of the National Curriculum received widespread support including from all major parties, all PSHE and SRE practitioners as well as the Church of England and the Catholic Education Service for England and Wales. However, given the strength of our belief in the importance of statutory SRE and the overwhelming level of support for this position in the last review, we have chosen in our response to call for SRE in its entirety to become statutory.
How can you help?
You can help by submitting your own response to the PSHE Review. You can read the consultation document and respond to it online.
The consultation is an easy to complete web form with 11 questions. We would encourage you to look at the BHA’s draft response
in constructing your own – though please don’t copy it. You may also want to look at the Accord Coalition
, and the Sex Education Forum
’s preliminary thoughts in their (now-concluded) survey
(their final response will be published in due course). You have until the 30 November to respond.