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Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN 6886, tabled on 4 September 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to pages 45-46 of the Social Mobility Commission's report, Time for Change: an assessment of government policies on social mobility 1997-2017, published on 28 June 2017, what assessment she has made of the effect of incentives for teachers to maximise test scores within a narrower curriculum on opportunities for social and emotional learning which are accessible to all children.

Answered on

20 September 2017

The best schools create a happy, safe and supportive environment, so that all children can fulfil their potential without suffering undue stress.

Schools already do a range of things to promote mental health and wellbeing. Our recent nationally representative survey of school provision indicated that almost all (92%) institutions reported an ethos or environment that promoted mutual care and concern. We have supported this in a number of ways, including funding the PSHE Association to produce guidance for teaching about mental health. This Government has also taken steps to reduce examination burdens upon young people, encouraging schools to put strong pastoral support in place to help pupils deal with any worries they might have throughout the year.

All state schools must offer a broad and balanced curriculum. We encourage all schools to offer Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education, ensuring pupils are taught about healthy and respectful relationships and the knowledge required to prepare for adult life. The Children and Social Work Act 2017 requires Relationships Education (primary) and RSE (secondary) to become mandatory in all schools, through regulations. The Act also provides a power to make PSHE, or elements therein, mandatory in all schools, subject to careful consideration. The Department for Education will conduct a thorough engagement process on the scope and content of Relationships Education and RSE, and consideration of PSHE.

The Department also supports schools to provide some extra-curricular programmes outside of the classroom. This includes working with the National Citizen Service as well as a £50m investment in the Cadet Expansion Programme, both of which teach young people life skills to prepare them for successful adulthood.