Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Education Select Committee calls for PHSE to be made statutory

Life Lessons, photo by Flickr user niXerKG
DrugScope welcomes the Education Select Committee’s recommendation to make Personal Health Social and Economic education a statutory part of the national curriculum.

As we said in our evidence to the committee, despite sustained and important falls in both the prevalence and problems that young people face as a result of their drug and alcohol use, young people in England are amongst the mostly likely to have been drunk before the age of 13 years old. 

Addressing these risks in a developmental way is an important component of an effective preventative response and so we are pleased to support the call for PSHE to be a mandated part of the school curriculum.

This year Public Health England report that more than a quarter of all those under 18 who entered drug treatment were identified and referred to specialist services by schools, colleges and pupil referral units; over half were engaged in mainstream education and a further one in five were in alternative education.

PSHE education can help support pupils in developing the values they bring to health decisions, and in developing the resilience that will allow them to bounce back when mistakes are made.

Earlier this year the new psychoactive substances expert panel made a similar recommendation, for PSHE to be given statutory status, DrugScope hopes that the government will now listen to the evidence collected by the Education Select Committee.


  1. It's encouraging to read this report and the arguments and evidence it contains. It represents yet another voice which recognises the centrality of personal development in young people's lives and the supporting role which schools can play in this development.
    We have, however, been here before, most thoroughly in the Macdonald review of PSHE in 2009. The present government seemd to look past and through the existence and findings of that piece of work, and during the pre-election 'wash-up' argued against the proposals which were then included in Labour's last education bill to make PSHE a statutory part of the curriculum.
    The prospects, therefore, don't seem too positive - but in a pre-election period it's good to see the question raised again in such a high-profile way.
    Wtach this space, as they say...

    1. Hi Blaine, yes I think the timing of this report is very similar to where we were in 2010, in that it pretty much means that whatever the response by the various political parties we are unlikely to see action ahead of the election.

      However, Joe Hayman makes some great points in his blog and I'd endorse his analysis. He says:

      "The expectation to respond will remain, however, so if the recommendations are not addressed by the current Government then the new Government will have to respond in May or June.

      It is therefore guaranteed that either current Ministers or those in post after the 7th of May will have to respond to the recommendations, but they will not obliged to follow them. It is therefore incumbent on all of us who care passionately about this cause to make our voices heard in the months ahead."

  2. Still disappointing to see that the practitioners' and researchers views and findings, and those of young people, are being stone-walled by politicians....