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Strengthening Relationships
and Sex Education


Recent government responses on PSHE | 07 August 2015


The Government recently published their response to the Education Select Committee recommendations on PSHE which includes RSE (16th July 2015). We are disappointed that there is a delay in the Government response to the Commons Education Committee’s recommendation that PSHE education should be made a statutory subject, however the Department for Education commits to a decision on this issue later in this year. The Select Committee Chair Neil Carmichael expressed disappointment at this delay and has undertaken to continue to look at the Government's action on this issue. 

Quality Assurance

The DfE response commits to further improvement to PSHE including RSE by stating: “To enable schools to demonstrate excellence in the quality of their PSHE teaching, the Government announced the development of a new, rigorous PSHE quality mark. This will give parents more information about the quality of a school’s PSHE provision and will highlight schools which are already providing opportunities for wider development for their pupils through PSHE.”

Quality Assurance of RSE is our core aim and we have produced quality review frameworks for primary, secondary and special schools to enable them to quality assure their RSE provision. Within the next academic year we will also be providing a tool for practitioners to assess their own practice in delivering RSE according to quality standards. We have written to the government to share our work into quality assurance and to offer our expertise in developing quality assurance materials.

Naming of the subject

As the only sector organisation to embrace the term RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) emphasising the important focus on relationships education, we were pleased that the Education select committee recommended renaming the subject to ‘Relationships and Sex Education’ however the government has responded:

“The committee is right to recognise that the focus of SRE is helping young people to build healthy relationships, and to identify those relationships which are unhealthy. Schools are already free to describe ‘SRE’ lessons as is most appropriate for them. However, the government does not agree that is necessary to change a well understood term at this time."

This response is disappointing, but we continue to work with our partners and support them as many of them choose to update the subject name to reflect the importance of relationships education.

10 minute rule motion on PSHE

On the 15th July a 10 minute rule motion on PSHE was brought to Parliament by Caroline Lucas MP. This was overwhelmingly supported by MPs from across the political spectrum, including Commons Health Committee Chair Sarah Wollaston and former Education Committee Chair Graham Stuart. The vote to have a second reading of the Bill was carried by 183 votes to 44, this demonstrates the level of support across the political spectrum, and we continue to campaign for statutory status for this vital subject. We will keep you posted as further developments arise. 

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