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Research and surveys have shown that children and their parents want PSHE taught in schools. The Government have made it clear that they believe that emotional and social skills are fundamental to school improvement, improving behaviour and attendance at school. So why will they not show that commitment by making PSHE compulsory? PSHE provides the right vehicle for delivering the Government’s agenda—the Every Child Matters outcomes for children. Typically, it has been seen to be driven by problems such as teenage pregnancy, substance misuse, smoking or obesity, which need to be solved.

At best PSHE is well co-ordinated in the school, but at worst it can be a number of topics that jostle with one another for time in the curriculum. That is not surprising, because the aspects of learning and development in PSHE are not joined up at national level. Currently, we have SEAL, or social and emotional aspects of learning, for primary schools, with SEBS, or social, emotional and behavioural skills, being piloted in secondary schools. The DfES delivers those. Some elements of drug education come from the Home Office and the healthy schools initiative comes from the Department of Health.

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If PSHE were used as a framework through which these different initiatives were delivered, it would provide coherence for schools. Currently, the Government acknowledge that PSHE needs improvements but do not accept that making it statutory would make schools and teacher/trainers take it more seriously. Instead, they have chosen various levers that they hope will drive up standards. I have a number of questions for the Minister about these.

Through the new inspection arrangements, the Government believe that PSHE will be better inspected and that that will drive up standards. But the new inspection regime is very short and, unless the Government are explicit that PSHE is the main vehicle for achieving the Every Child Matters outcomes, it is unlikely that inspection will have much impact. In addition, few Ofsted inspectors are PSHE specialists. Those schools that are good academically will get a good Ofsted report anyway, even if their PSHE is diabolical. Will the Minister commit to commissioning Ofsted to deliver a special thematic report on PSHE?

Secondly, PSHE is now in the initial teacher training curriculum. However, the curriculum is so packed that I understand that in some cases only an hour is dedicated to the subject. Therefore, training has to come through continued professional development. The continuous professional development programme aims to train only 2,000 teachers and nurses a year in PSHE. As there are over 20,000 schools, it will take many years before every school has at least one trained teacher. Will the DfES work with the Training and Development Agency for Schools and others to improve the training of newly qualified teachers in PSHE?

The QCA produced good end of key stage statements in 2005. It is currently reviewing the whole curriculum, including PSHE. Will the Minister consider asking the QCA to develop PSHE within the framework of the five outcomes for children so that it is the main vehicle for their delivery by schools?

All schools should be healthy schools by 2008—I believe that that is the target. However, there are still many thousands of schools which are still to convert to that status. Making PSHE statutory would help to ensure that all schools become healthy schools sooner. What sanctions will apply or, preferably, support be given to schools with poor PSHE provision, regardless of the academic attainment of the pupils, so that they can all become healthy schools sooner?

Finally, I challenge the Government's basic premise that aspects of PSHE, such as sex and drug education, are already statutory because they are covered in biology or science lessons. As a former biology teacher and form tutor delivering PSHE, I tell the Minister that the ethos of a biology lesson, where there is a curriculum to be examined in a public examination, and the ethos of a PSHE lesson, where young people are encouraged to discuss and explore difficult issues, are totally different. It is not possible to work on the important relationship aspects of the subject in science lessons.

PSHE is vital alongside the more factual work. We need both and we need every child to receive both. PSHE covers the emotional and social aspects,

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enabling children to move beyond the facts to develop lifelong skills and positive attitudes. That being so important, if the Government still resist the call of so many in this Chamber and beyond to ensure that all children receive good-quality PSHE as of right, how will the department evaluate the use of the levers, which I have just described, that they propose to use and over what period will that be done? Will we still be in the terrible position described by the list of statistics that I gave earlier, which were published by the IPPR only this weekend? I beg to move.

Lord Northbourne: My Lords, I support Amendments Nos. 91A and 91B and shall speak to Amendment No. 92. Unfortunately, I was unable to be in my place when the noble Baroness moved her amendment in Committee, as I was chairing a conference on the implementation of the Every Child Matters programme in my county of Kent. In spirit, I supported the amendment; I wrote to the Minister about it and received a very helpful reply, for which I am most grateful.

I have carefully read the Official Report of the debate. Somehow, it seems to have been entirely hijacked by sex education and health education. I admit that sex education and health education are probably much more fun than what I am going to talk about, which I believe to be another very important aspect of personal, social and health education.

When she opened the debate in Committee, the noble Baroness pointed out that the non-compulsory elements of PSHE are being crowded out of the curriculum by other compulsory subjects—especially, of course, those that will improve the school’s position in the dreaded league tables. I remember—was it 10 or 12 years ago?—with what high hopes we fought to get PSHE into the syllabus. It is sad that it is still not being well delivered in schools. I strongly support the government policy to train more PSHE teachers, but that will not solve the problem if the non-compulsory elements of PSHE are crowded out of the work programme, especially in the most vulnerable schools.

If, on reflection, the Minister is prepared to accept Amendments Nos. 91A and 91B, I shall be very content. If not, perhaps my amendment, Amendment No. 92, may suggest a basis for compromise or a different way to look at the problem. If accepted, it would ensure that personal and social life skills would have to be taught and learnt in all schools, at least in key stage 4. I must admit that it would be better still if they had to be learnt in all key stages, because those skills should start to be learnt early and developed throughout the child's life at school—and before. I am sorry that I did not frame my amendment to give effect to that; I may do so at the next stage of the Bill if that becomes relevant.

Personal and social life skills and education are important because they are essential in the workplace and in the family. In short, social education is about the skills that one needs to get on with other people, and personal education is about the skills that one needs to get on with oneself. A child’s ability to be comfortable in their own skin is fundamental to success

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in school and in later life. It is vital to develop enough self-esteem and communication skills to be able to listen, to express oneself, to negotiate, to resolve conflict, and to establish and sustain effective and positive relationships with adults and within peer groups, as these are the most crucial skills of all in life, whether in the workplace, the family or elsewhere. Most children start to learn these skills very early on in the family but, for those who are not so lucky, it is crucial that the school is ready to move in and fill the gap.

The noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, has given several examples of what is going on at present. Research shows that, in most disadvantaged families today, verbal and social ability has deteriorated since 1999—a statistic that the noble Baroness did not give us. In her studies on child health, Professor Stewart-Brown has shown that relationships in the home during childhood are a determinant of mental and physical health in childhood and in adult life, and that this effect is independent of socio-economic factors. That also applies to relationships at school. The National Autistic Society has told me that it surveyed 35,000 parents, almost all of whom put better teaching in personal and social education first in meeting the needs of autistic children.

Family breakdown, domestic violence, anti-social behaviour, school failure and bullying at school can be traced back in many cases to poor communication and negotiation skills. It is at least arguable that, for the most disadvantaged children in our society, better interpersonal and communication skills are the key that could unlock the prison of exclusion, frustration and hopelessness.

In his amendment to Clause 6, the Minister has introduced a duty on local authorities to provide or procure out-of-school activities for all young people. I welcome this proposal. Out-of-school activities are an excellent way of developing self-confidence and teaching personal and social skills, but they should be additional to, not instead of, an obligation on all schools to provide effective PSHE, especially to the most disadvantaged. Unless someone is obliged to deliver this subject, some of the most vulnerable children will fall through the net.

Baroness Gould of Potternewton: My Lords, I support Amendments Nos. 91A and 91B on the need to make PSHE statutory in the national curriculum. I have lobbied the Minister from the first day he arrived in your Lordships’ House. I appreciate his commitment to the subject, as well as the developments that have been made since this matter has been his responsibility. Those developments include the Teacher’s handbook, the guidelines for the 12 subjects that make up PSHE, and the establishment of the first PSHE subject association—an association for teachers of PSHE to share examples of good practice and to promote PSHE through the healthy schools initiative. We should also appreciate that 5,000 teachers have benefited from the PSHE certification programme, although, as the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, said, that is nowhere near enough.

Teachers must have far more understanding of the importance of PSHE teaching. I cite one example to justify that point. I recently asked a headmaster of a

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boys’ school in London about the PSHE programme in his school. He replied that the school did not need PSHE teaching because it was a boys’ school. I do not understand that logic, but the idea is all too prevalent that subjects such as this mean that we are talking only about girls, but of course we are not; we are talking about the need for boys, too, to have that training.

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I want to give three definitions from government documents that support the case that we are all making. I make no apology for quoting back to the Government some of the things that they have said. The Teacher’s handbook defines PSHE as,

On the national curriculum, the Government state that the aim of the school curriculum is to,

Finally, the Teacher’s handbook also states:

I repeat, “essential”—

If we were to take those words as they are written, there would be no need for this argument, because the Government have presented their own case for making the subject statutory. If those aspirations had become reality, we would see better pupil behaviour, attendance and attainment, a reduction in bullying, improved levels of physical and mental health, a greater ability to stay safe, a decrease in early sex and a reduction in teenage pregnancy, which are all values to which the Government are committed.

This morning, I spoke at a conference on teenage pregnancy. There was a speaker from Gateshead, where the level of teenage pregnancy has declined quite substantially. The speaker said that one of the main reasons for its decline was that children are taught PSHE and SRE in their schools. Again, there is no better case for the argument that we are making.

In Committee, the Minister said that many aspects of PSHE are already statutory, such as SRE and drug guidance, and that a number of requirements on schools support PSHE, such as policies on bullying and child protection. I follow the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, and say politely to my noble friend that that is a rather disingenuous argument: only elements of SRE and drug education are a part of the statutory science curriculum. The teaching is too biological and infrequent and it completely ignores the relationships and emotions that the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, so clearly identified. I refer again to the teenage pregnancy argument from the “deep

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dive” activity, which confirmed that in all those areas where there is effective teaching there is a reduction in the level of teenage pregnancy. Similarly, evidence from Stonewall shows that the answer to homophobic bullying in schools is effective and statutory PSHE in all our schools, thus enabling young people to discuss the different relationships and families that are reflective of the world in which we live.

My noble friend also said in Committee that this is not a straightforward issue, which is true. The current complexity means that there is confusion and nervousness among teachers on what they can legitimately teach, what is statutory and what is optional. I hope that my noble friend will agree that, surely, the answer is to make PSHE in its entirety a statutory subject; if that is done, you get over that complexity and confusion.

The noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, cited a number of organisations that have supported this demand. I should like to mention one or two more: the Catholic Education Service, the Church of England Board of Education, Mencap, the Methodist Church, the Mothers’ Union, the Parenting Forum, Relate, the Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy and the organisation that I chair, the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV.

I understand that there are many other demands to make subjects statutory, which of course must cause a dilemma for the Government. But I challenge my noble friend to identify any other subject where the demand is greater and the breadth of the organisations making that demand is as wide as it is on this subject. I do not believe that the Government’s argument is sufficient. I sincerely believe that while PSHE remains a non-statutory part of the curriculum and while there is an inadequate number of trained staff—be it teachers or school nurses—the teaching of PSHE will remain patchy, with a continuation of bullying and risky behaviour, and a lack of respect of pupils to one another, so that the best intentions of the Government will be lost.

Finally, we need to learn from the experience of European countries that have overcome many of the problems that we face. The difference is that those countries are characterised by an open attitude towards discussing sex and relationships; they have comprehensive sex and relationship education in all their schools and there is easy access to the sexual health services and advice that are required. A part of what I have quoted has come from a government document about learning from Europe. I quote the Government’s words back to them and ask: when is it all going to happen?

Lord Fowler: My Lords, I support AmendmentNo. 91A and agree with what the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, has said. I declare an interest as a trustee of the Terrence Higgins Trust and as an ambassador for the National AIDS Trust.

Twenty years ago I launched a campaign on HIV/AIDS. Our message was basically, “Don’t die of ignorance”. We used television advertising, posters and we sent a leaflet to every household in the

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country. Among some it was regarded as controversial. I remember meeting the Chief Rabbi, who complimented me on the urgency of the campaign but set out no fewer than 14 different reasons why he opposed it. One of his arguments was that it encouraged promiscuity by introducing children and young people to ideas of sex entirely unknown to them. I did not agree with that argument. Indeed, I think effective prevention is—or should be—one of the goals of any Government. As it happened, we were not flooded with a vast number of complaints after the campaign—in fact we had very few indeed—but the figures showed that knowledge increased very radically and infection went down at the same time, not only HIV/AIDS infection but sexually transmitted diseases generally.

However, 20 years on, I am concerned by just how much those lessons have been forgotten. If you ran a commercial company and conducted a major advertising campaign, and then went off the air for the next 20 years, everyone would think you were fairly eccentric. But that is exactly what has happened; there has been no effective follow-up. Because of medical advances, young people may not now be dying of ignorance, but certainly they are continuing to suffer in increasing numbers because of ignorance. That is basically why I support the amendment.

The degree of ignorance in this country is of enormous concern to anyone who has looked at this issue. The European survey carried out for the European Commission, to which the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, referred, showed startling ignorance about how HIV/AIDS is spread and a startling avoidance of some of the most obvious methods of preventing it. It is a sad truth that for most young people today television, the media, playground gossip and rumours are their primary source of important information about issues such as pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV. And yet countless surveys in this country have shown that young people would like to see taught—and better taught than it is—much more sex and relationship education. As we have been told, some aspects of sex and relationship education are currently taught as part of the biology curriculum, but we also know that maintaining good sexual health involves far more than an understanding of basic biology.

Currently, I think that provision is extraordinarily patchy. Some schools teach good-quality sex and relationship education, in others it is poor quality and some do not teach it at all. It should not be left to individual schools to make the decision or to make the case for it. It is quite a difficult case to make locally, where it does not necessarily come at the top of people’s priorities. Therefore, it is a responsibility directly upon Government to make that case nationally and locally. I should like to see the Government—this one or whichever one follows—face up to the challenge.

There is an excellent document on the website of the Department for International Development entitled Talking about Health, Sex and Pregnancy. It sets out

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the department’s approach to promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights in developing countries, and says:

To support and fund good-quality personal, social and health education around the world, as it clearly helps young people to make sensible, safer choices to protect their own well-being, is an eminently sensible approach. It seems reasonable to ask the Government to show the same concern for young people in the United Kingdom and to ensure that all our young people get high-quality personal, social and health education as part of the national curriculum.

This is a vastly important subject; it is right that it should be raised at this stage, and I very much hope that as a result of the Bill, we can at long last do something about it.

Baroness Massey of Darwen: My Lords, I support the amendments. There have already been many excellent speeches so I shall not take long.

I can see no good reason why citizenship should be statutory and PSHE should not be when there is so much overlap in relation to personal and social skills. I have seen the impact of PSHE in schools. I was a senior teacher in charge of health education, as it was then, in a school in south London, and I am now a governor of a school with a strong programme of PSHE. In both cases, the programmes have undoubtedly affected the ethos and behaviour in the schools. My noble friend Lady Gould referred to bullying; I have seen bullying tackled and strong personal and social skills developed in schools where there is a programme.

Every school should be enabled to have a strong and consistent programme of PSHE at every stage of the curriculum. The noble Lord, Lord Fowler, correctly pointed out that people forget, and we need to repeat messages if young people are to retain those which are important for their health and well-being.

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