Compulsory Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) including LGBT issues in schools

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2013 National LGBT Conference
31 July 2013

Despite pressure from within successive governments and external organisations for many years, Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) is still not compulsory in secondary education. The government rejected the proposal to make PSHE compulsory in March 2013 and it continues to be “not yet good enough” as stated in the Ofsted report published in May.

However, there is increasing evidence that shows where there is competent and comprehensive PSHE including Sex and Relationship Education (SRE), there are very positive outcomes for young people. For example, greater understanding of risk, positive relationship across school and local community, better attainment, less bullying (including homophobic bullying), greater sense of wellbeing and belonging. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people in schools where there is comprehensive PSHE and SRE report feeling more able to come out and more supported and experience reduced isolation.

Whilst the government’s new framework has some positive aspects, unless more elements are compulsory, for example, teaching healthy relationships and family diversity, many educational establishments will leave them out of their curriculum. With the rise of academies, faith schools and free schools, local authorities have less influence on the extended curriculum.

This means that young people are being denied the opportunity for education which enables them to make positive and safe choices especially around sexual health and relationships. The impact for LGBT young people is potentially very negative as good PSHE provides a valuable opportunity to contribute to the wellbeing of LGBT reducing the chance of them experiencing damaging internalised homophobia.

Conference therefore urges the National LGBT committee to:

1. Work with PSHE Association to seek campaigning opportunities for making PSHE compulsory and promote them through regions and branches;

2. Provide guidance and an information sheet that can be used to lobby local authorities and Members of Parliament by regional groups and branches;

3. Encourage regions and branches to make links to specialist providers of PSHE and SRE in local schools to encourage them to include positive LGBT representation.

South West Region Self Organised LGBT Group