The non-statutory programmes of study for Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education in England currently provide a context within which schools teach pupils about the importance of parenting. In particular, the personal well-being programme of study sets out how young people should learn about the roles and responsibilities of parents, carers, children and other family members, as well as the skills and qualities needed in parenting, and their importance to family life.
Our aim for the national curriculum is to reduce unnecessary prescription, bureaucracy and central control and to give schools and teachers greater control over what is taught. We do not therefore propose to ask schools to report on the content of their lessons, especially those that are non-statutory.
The recent report from the Centre for Education and Inclusion Research showed that between 63% and 70% of secondary schools (dependent on year group) were teaching all PSHE education elements at KS3 and KS4. Ofsted's report on the teaching of PSHE found that overall provision was good or outstanding in three quarters of the schools visited, but sex and relationship education, drugs and alcohol teaching and mental health issues were dealt with superficially.
We have said we want all pupils to benefit from high quality PSHE education and in the Schools White Paper 2010, "The Importance of Teaching", we announced our intention to hold an internal review of PSHE. As part of that review we expect to visit Manchester Academy to understand the work they have undertaken on incorporating parenting classes into the curriculum.
Notwithstanding the work in Manchester Academy, evidence shows that the most valuable parenting skills are best taught through a mix of practical application and teaching, which is likely to be more effective the closer it is to the age at which people have children-the average age for people to have their first child in England is in their late 20s.