RSPH welcomes a call from the Commons Education Committee that all state secondary and primary schools should have statutory Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) including age-appropriate Relationship and Sex Education (RSE).
The cross-party group of MPs have been critical of the government for not doing enough to equip children with the information they need to keep themselves healthy and safe. Under current guidelines, primary schools do not have to provide RSE outside of the science curriculum, while state secondary schools only have to cover topics around sexually transmitted infections for 14-16 year olds in science classes.
The proposals call for the Department of Education to develop a work plan for the statutory introduction of PHSE and RSE across both primary and secondary education. RSPH shares the view of the Select Committee that young people have a right to information that will keep them healthy and safe and that PSHE education helps to build character and resilience.
Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of RSPH welcomed the announcement, stating that: “Education is vitally important in order to equip young people with the knowledge and information to develop their understanding of relationships and sexual activity. Age-appropriate and well-rounded PSHE and RSE that empowers children and young people and has the potential to keep them healthy and safe is paramount to comprehensive learning; we welcome the Education Select Committee’s recognition of this as a positive step forward.
"RSPH also believes that there is an important role for peer and informal education, outside of the school setting and we have pioneered the Youth Health Champions programme to empower young people to make informed choices in order to support their health and wellbeing.
"We recognise there is still much more to be done to educate and protect our children when it comes to relationships and sexual health but welcome the Committee’s recommendations as a step in the right direction to achieving this goal."