Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 14th July 2017.

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department plans to include (a) antisemitism and (b) Islamophobia in the personal, social and health education curriculum.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Government is committed to tackling religious discrimination and racism, and to ensure that we have an inclusive society where everyone is treated with respect and fairness.

The National Curriculum provides many opportunities to raise awareness of racial and religious diversity and tolerance. Good quality religious education can develop pupils’ knowledge of the values and traditions of Britain and other countries, and foster understanding among different faiths and cultures. Religious education remains compulsory for all state funded schools, including academies and free schools, at all Key Stages.

Holocaust education is a mandatory topic in the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum for history. This can be used to explore issues such as anti semitism and attitudes and hate crimes related to other races and faiths.

Teaching about discrimination can also be included as part of the statutory programme of study for citizenship education at ages 11-16 in maintained schools.

Schools are also already expected to promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils and, as part of this, fundamental British values, including the values of mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. This is at the heart of their responsibility to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain.

Schools are free to teach about religious discrimination as well as racism in Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, where pupils can reflect on and challenge notions of prejudice.

The Children and Social Work Act (2017) allows the Secretary of State for Education to make PSHE education, or elements therein, mandatory in all schools in England, subject to careful consideration. The Department will be conducting a thorough engagement process on the scope and content of PSHE, involving a wide range of interested stakeholders. We will set out more details shortly about the engagement process and the work to consider subject content.

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