Along with about 200 others I’ve spent this morning at a consultation event the QCA have organised around the proposed new primary curriculum, and making PSHE a statutory subject.
The people at the event came from a very diverse set of backgrounds, for example I was sat between someone from the Ordinance Survey and on the other side a head teacher who was representing ASPE. Others on my table were there from a business and enterprise background, a teaching union, a couple of curriculum advisers from local authorities, and someone from National Strategies.
One of the things that struck me was how positive the room was about the potential of what Sir Jim has produced. They didn’t share the concerns expressed in the press about the importance of ICT in the proposed curriculum, and while there were concerns expressed about the naming of certain aspects of learning these were mildly put rather than a demand that we return to more clear subject based learning.
That point came out even more strongly in the discussion about making PSHE statutory. Amongst this audience 67% strongly agreed with PSHE becoming statutory, with a further 23% tending to agree with the statement.
There was also a strong majority who would not give parents the right to remove their children from the sex and relationships aspects of PSHE education. The feeling seemed to be that education about sex and relationships (particularly relationships) was critical to the children’s personal development.
We were also asked about the name of PSHE education, and it seemed clear that there’s no real love for it. Only 4% strongly agreed that it was the best name possible, with 20% tending to agree with the statement. 25% tended to disagree and 17% strongly disagreed – with 33% saying they didn’t know. The discussion at our table tended towards the view that PSHE education needed a fresh start and that a new name (Life Skills was mooted) would be helpful.
There was also a strong feeling against attainment targets, with 42% saying they strongly thought there shouldn’t be any for PSHE education, and only 8% strongly feeling there should be. However, the discussion we had also recognised that measuring attainment may be part of what PSHE education needed to gain status in school.
The consultation on these two areas remains open for everyone to contribute to until 24 July. More details can be found on the QCA website.
Filed under: consultation, PSHE