LONDON, 17 FEBRUARY 2015 – The alcohol and drug prevention charity, Mentor, welcomed the publication of the Commons Education Committee report into PSHE education. The report cited evidence of the value of quality PSHE on young people’s wellbeing and made a number of key recommendations for improving provision, including statutory status for the subject.Mentor has campaigned for statutory status, which is also supported by a range of expert organisations and a majority of young people, parents and teachers. The move would help to ensure that teachers have the training, resources and curriculum time to deliver quality, evidence-based PSHE.
The Department for Education, which considers PSHE and SRE a major priority, will be expected to respond to the Committee’s recommendations for enhancing the quality of PSHE in schools.
Mentor’s Chief Executive Michael O’Toole commented on the report’s publication:
“Mentor welcomes the report which has drawn evidence from a wide range of experts. We are particularly pleased that the Committee listened to the input of young people, who reinforced the importance and the long-term benefits of PSHE in improving health and wellbeing.
“The role of good PSHE within schools is to enable young people to be more self-aware, more resilient, and to be able to reflect on their understanding and make informed decisions. As the report points out, quality PSHE does not just prevent negative outcomes; it inspires a wide range of positive effects, including on academic attainment, ‘resilience’ and pupil wellbeing.
“Our own research has shown that a lack of curriculum time and teacher training are major barriers to effective PSHE. We therefore fully support the Committee’s recommendations to introduce statutory status and to promote guidance from the voluntary sector. These measures will raise the profile of the subject and help to ensure that teachers have the training, resources and time to deliver quality PSHE.
“PSHE remains the best way to reach large numbers of young people, promoting a range of health outcomes including reducing the harms caused by alcohol and other drugs. Ofsted’s findings that PSHE education is still ‘not good enough’ in many schools means we are missing the best opportunity to safeguard young people. Now is the time to act on the Committee’s astute recommendations.”
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1. 74% of young people in the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children survey 2014 felt that PSHE classes helped them to look after their own health and improved their skills and abilities to consider the importance of their own health: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmeduc/145/14502.htm
2. Mentor commissioned research in 2013 into the current status of PSHE, which revealed several structural constraints for teachers: http://mentor-adepis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Drug-and-alcohol-education-in-schools-full-report.pdf
3. In 2013, Ofsted reviewed PSHE education in schools; their findings are published in the report ‘Not Yet Good Enough’: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/personal-social-health-and-economic-education-needs-improvement
4. Mentor ADEPIS has produced a range of guidance materials to assist teachers in delivering evidence-based alcohol and drug education, as part of PSHE. Click here for more information.