Caroline Nokes – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Education

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Caroline Nokes on 2016-02-08.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans she has to improve the teaching of personal, social, health and economic education and sex and relationship education in schools that Ofsted inspectors have assessed as requiring improvement in the teaching of those subjects.

Edward Timpson

This Government believes that all children should have the opportunity to receive a high quality and appropriate sex and relationship education (SRE). SRE is compulsory in all maintained secondary schools and many primary schools also teach it in an age-appropriate way. The Government also expects academies and free schools to deliver SRE as part of their provision of a broad and balanced curriculum.

Any state-funded school teaching SRE must have regard to the Secretary of State’s SRE guidance (2000). The Department does not collect data about the number of schools that follow the guidance. The Department has received requests about updating the existing SRE guidance which we will carefully consider.

Ofsted does not inspect individual curriculum subjects. However, aspects of Personal Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education and SRE will inform its judgment on personal development, behaviour and welfare. Inspectors must also consider the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils. Schools have responsibility for acting upon the inspection reports they receive and any weaknesses will be considered when the school is next inspected.

Initial Teacher Training is currently determined by the Teachers’ Standards, which all trainee teachers must be able to demonstrate by the end of their training. The Standards set out the key principles of good subject pedagogy and the importance of subject knowledge development across the curriculum. Schools and headteachers are best placed to determine which staff learning activities will be most beneficial for their schools and we expect them to lead the personal development of their teachers to improve the quality of all round teaching.

The Department supports schools’ efforts to improve PSHE teaching, by drawing schools’ attention to a range of high quality PSHE education teaching resources, including quality resources, lesson plans, a programme of study, factsheets and case studies. These resources are kite-marked by the PSHE Association to ensure that schools can trust the materials they use and improve their teaching.