On 10th February ,almost exactly a year after its publication on 17th February 2015, Nikki Morgan finally published the governments response to the report of the all-party Education Select Committee on Life Lessons;PSHE and SRE in Schools.
The cross-party committee recommended that PSHE/SRE be a statutory subject .it also suggested that SRE [sex and relationships] be retitled ‘relationships and sex’—-although perhaps its own title of ‘life lessons’ would be a lot snappier and descriptive
On page 53 of the report, it said,
“We recommend that the DfE develop a workplan for introducing age-appropriate PSHE and RSE as statutory subjects in primary and secondary schools ,setting out its strategy for improving the supply of teachers able to deliver this subject and a time table for achieving this .”
More than 100 organisations ,including Hull and East Riding Labour LGBT+Network and Hull and East Riding LGBT Forum, submitted evidence to the inquiry—-the vast majority of them calling for statutory provision. The vast majority of them welcomed the report—–albeit with reservations—-perhaps inevitably, In June 2015 the newly elected government come up with a response that the Tory Chair of the Select Committee, Neil Carmichael , described as ‘feeble’ The letter to from Nikki Morgan to Neil Carmichael came only after considerable pressure not only from him but from the chairs of three other select committees. And here the nub of it is
This response might fairly be summed up as ‘fair words and no action’ Across the political parties and in just about every organisation voluntary and statutory in the field there is almost unanimous agreement that unless the subject is given statutory status the subject will not be given proper status, teachers will not be properly trained and supported and it will not be properly resourced.
And, of course, there will be many youngsters who will not do the subject at all.
Whether the governments fundamental objection is a ideological neo-liberal objection to an education secretary daring to tell schools what to do—-and helping them to do it—or Scrooge economics have asserted themselves again—it is clear that Nikki Morgan has FAILED her own life lesson—-that without statutory provision millions of youngsters will be left in ignorance and in danger. Since when was it the job of an education secretary to keep kids in ignorance rather than educate them?
We will join with all the other organisations in pushing for proper statutory provision rather than fine words and no meaningful action
Unless it is done the bullying,the mental distress, the violence and suicides will continue
No young person should be left in ignorance. The price they pay is far too great
Colin Livett 21/2/16
On 22nd March Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary ,Lucy Powell.promised that Labour will make PSHE with updated and age-appropriate RSE compulsory in all tax payer funded schools.This is welcome but we must keep up the pressure on Cameron and Morgan because their blind inaction leaves many of our young people in peril.
It seems that just about everyone in the country–apart from Cameron and Morgan favour mandatory sre in all schools. A letter in tonights [3rd May] points out that the new Academies will not have to teach SRE and that childreb could then be left to glean information from the Internet placing themselves in danger. It comes from Steve Oversby ,regional Director of Barnardos who calls for the government to act to require ALL schools to teach SRE.
How does our government justify leaving our young people in ignorance and peril?