Caroline Lucas launches second attempt to make PSHE compulsory
The Green party MP is set to present a bill to parliament that seeks to make the teaching of personal, social and health education (PSHE) compulsory in all schools.
The bill was originally tabled by Lucas in 2014 but the debate was postponed until February this year – when the education select committee backed calls for compulsory PSHE to be made mandatory in all UK schools.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan told parliament last month that the government would respond to the committee’s recommendations by June 26, but has so far failed to do so.
The MP for Brighton Pavilion will introduce the 10-minute rule bill to parliament after prime minister’s questions later today (July 15) in a bid to force Morgan into action.
PSHE is viewed by its supporters as a vital way to ensure the youth of Britain are educated on a range of sex and relationship issues, including learning about same sex families.
“I know that some people fear that PSHE can expose children to sexualisation but the exact opposite is true,” said Lucas.
“A PSHE lesson for younger children wouldn’t be exposing them to anything graphic or upsetting.
“It would work to improve children’s grasp of what it means to give and receive consent generally.”
Conveying the importance of PSHE, the only Green Party MP in Parliament said: “The idea is that this gives them the solid building blocks they need as they encounter more complicated situations as they get older.
“Good quality PSHE, which is what this is all about, would always be age-appropriate and that’s why teachers need the training statutory status would give.”
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Ms Lucas’s bill has received support from across the political spectrum, with four Labour MPs, Conservative Caroline Nokes and Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb backing it.
More than 100 organisations have joined a PSHE Association campaign for statutory PSHE education, including Stonewall.
Mrs Morgan herself has also championed PSHE, echoing Lucas’ views on the subject – in March, she said all children should be taught a “curriculum for life” in schools to help them deal with a wide range of issues.
“I want more schools to put high-quality PSHE at the heart of their curriculum,” she said.
“It is an essential part of their responsibility to prepare young people for life in modern Britain.”