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7 February 2013
The PSHE Association welcomes the focus on a broad and balanced curriculum in today's national curriculum announcement by the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove.
Mr. Gove said that “We are determined to give every child, regardless of background, a broad and balanced education – so that, by the time their compulsory education is complete, they are well equipped for further study, future employment and adult life.”
The PSHE Association has long believed that the best way to achieve this objective is through a well planned and executed programme of PSHE education.
We therefore welcome Mr. Gove's reminder of the importance of subjects – such as PSHE education – that fall outside the National Curriculum. As he said, “the statutory National Curriculum should form only part of the school curriculum, not its entirety.”
We are also encouraged by section 2.3 of the National Curriculum framework document that states:
All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice.
Despite this positive news we remain concerned that in the context of a range of subjects which are statutory for schools and accountability tables also published today which focus heavily on those subjects, the Department's aim that all schools should make provision for PSHE education will not be realised.
We continue to call for a statutory entitlement to PSHE education, but also reflection in accountability measures for schools (both those announced today and in relation to the Ofsted framework) of the critical role that PSHE can play in helping schools to meet their statutory requirements to offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which:
• promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
• prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
We will continue to lobby for greater support to schools to deal with the sensitive issues covered in PSHE education, to give the subject the prominence it deserves and ensure teaching on the range of issues covered by the PSHE curriculum is of the standard of quality we would expect for such important issues in children and young people's current and future wellbeing.
We look forward to working with the Department and colleagues involved in citizenship and personal finance education to ensure that all young people are supported to manage their own finances safely, as we look forward to opportunities to build upon elements of the science curriculum in relation to health through PSHE teaching and learning.
We would finally note that this represents our initial response to today's announcement and we look forward to taking our members' views before making a full contribution to the consultation process.