Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 27th April 2017.

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Photo of Lord Northbourne Lord Northbourne Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why the most recent Ofsted publications setting out the various issues to be taught in (1) personal, social and health education, and (2) sex and relationship education, in secondary schools make no reference to preparing pupils for future responsibilities as parents.

Photo of Lord Nash Lord Nash The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

It is not Ofsted’s role to issue guidance to schools on the content of any aspect of the curriculum.

Schools are required to provide a broad and balanced curriculum, and personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) and sex and relationships education can contribute to this. The Department has issued guidance on sex and relationships education that sets out how schools should approach the teaching of this subject. All state-funded schools who teach sex education must have regard to this guidance. The Department has not provided guidance on PSHE as this is a non-statutory subject. Schools are free to determine the content of their curriculum, but can use the materials developed by the PSHE Association to support this. These materials include giving pupils the opportunity to learn about the roles and responsibilities of parents, carers and children in families.

The Children and Social Work Bill contains provisions relating to Relationships Education for primary schools, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) for secondary schools, and personal, social, health and economic education for primary and secondary schools. In March, the Government published a Policy Statement which sets out likely subject content, including family relationships. The policy statement can be accessed via this link:

Regulations and guidance for Relationships Education and RSE will be produced and the regulations will be laid before Parliament for debate and a vote. The Bill’s provisions also create a power enabling the Secretary of State to make regulations in the future requiring PSHE be taught in all schools in England: primary and secondary, maintained and academy. This is subject to decision-making following careful consideration.

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