The poll of 590 education staff working in primary and secondary schools in England, found that 91% feel that PSHE should have a regular slot in school timetables and be an integral part of the school curriculum.

At present, state-funded schools are not required to teach PSHE, although some chose to do so. From September 2019, schools will be required to teach RSE, but not PSHE. However, education staff believe that PSHE lessons should also be made compulsory, for all school children, and that PSHE lessons are the best place to teach RSE. Ninety-three per cent of education staff said RSE should form part of statutory PSHE.

Ninety-six per cent said high-quality relationships and sex education can play a role in keeping children safe from harm.

Worryingly, only just over a quarter of respondents (29%) feel confident that their school will be ready to deliver the new relationships and sex education in September 2019.

Almost 70% (68.6%) said that staff in their school have not had sufficient training to deliver PSHE or RSE at a high-quality. Fifty-six per cent believe that having inadequate resources with which to teach PSHE or RSE is the main barrier to delivering high-quality PSHE and RSE in all schools.

Ninety-one per cent of respondents said that the Government must provide additional funding for staff training and resources to teach RSE and PSHE.

Almost 100% (98%) of primary school respondents would support the inclusion of ‘what to do if you feel unsafe’ in the primary relationships curriculum, 96% would welcome the inclusion of how to deal with appropriate and inappropriate touching, and 96% would like online safety and privacy covered. And 92% would support the inclusion of puberty, menstruation and the correct terminology for body parts in the primary curriculum.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: “The National Education Union welcomes the Government’s commitment to introduce statutory Relationships and Sex Education in every school. We have a duty to get this right for every child so that they are prepared for happy and healthy relationships and equipped with the information to stay safe. There is a consensus in the education profession about the importance of RSE and a commitment to teach it well - we hope the Government recognises this and introduces ambitious statutory guidance fit for the demands of growing up in the 21st century.

“Schools will need support from the Government to deliver this subject well – so the Department for Education must provide sufficient additional funding for training and high-quality resources. We believe that PSHE lessons are the best way to teach RSE, so urge the Government to take the opportunity to make this subject statutory too.”

The National Education Union has submitted evidence to the DfE’s consultation on the future of RSE and PSHE in England - Changes to teaching of sex and relationship education, and PSHE – which closes on 12 February. The NEU’s submission (NEU-consulation-response-RSE-PSHE-in-England-February-2018) also highlights that:

  • Education professionals must feel confident and equipped to deliver the curriculum. Statutory guidance must be accompanied by a comprehensive and well-funded package of support for schools. This includes ensuring staff have access to the relevant professional development as well as a range of high quality resources. 
  • PSHE must be given space and status in the curriculum. The Government must work closely with the profession to seriously address the consequences of high stakes accountability if the PSHE and RSE reform is to be a success.

ENDS

2018-019-NEU

Further Notes:

The National Education Union surveyed 590 education staff in primary and secondary schools in England in January 2018. Key statistics were:

Do you agree with the following statements?

       
 

Yes

No

Not sure

Total

High quality Relationships and Sex Education can play a role in keeping children safe from harm

96.25%

565

1.02%

6

2.73%

16

587

Relationships and Sex Education should form part of Statutory PSHE

92.86%

546

2.72%

16

4.42%

26

588

The Government must provide additional funding for Relationships and Sex Education and PSHE for staff training and resources

91.30%

535

1.88%

11

6.83%

40

586

In an ideal situation PSHE would have a regular place in the school timetable and clear position in the school curriculum

91.50%

538

3.57%

21

4.93%

29

588

My school has a strategy for keeping parents informed about Relationships and Sex Education

37.05%

216

18.52%

108

44.43%

259

583

I am confident that my school will be ready to deliver the new Relationships and Sex Education in 2019

28.67%

168

25.43%

149

45.90%

269

586

         

Answered

589

         

Skipped

1

What are the main barriers, if any, to delivering high quality PSHE and Relationships and Sex Education all schools?  Please tick all that apply:

 

Responses

Lack of curriculum time

62.11%

354

Inadequate resources

56.49%

322

High workload cuts into planning time

50.70%

289

Staff have not had sufficient training to deliver PSHE or Relationships and Sex Education at a high quality

68.60%

391

Staff lack confidence in delivering PSHE and Relationships and Sex Education

61.40%

350

PSHE does not have a designated school lead

14.04%

80

Relationships and Sex Education does not have a designated school lead

25.09%

143

Pupils don't take the subject seriously

26.14%

149

Senior leaders don't give PSHE or Relationships and Sex Education priority

28.07%

160

Staff are reluctant to teach PSHE

26.14%

149

Staff are reluctant to teach Relationships and Sex Education

36.14%

206

It's difficult to keep up-to-date with issues, for example around online safety.

19.65%

112

 

Answered

570

 

Skipped

20

Regardless of whether you teach in a Primary or Secondary setting, do you agree that the Relationships Curriculum in Primary should include the following topics?  Please tick all that you agree with:

Answer Choices

Responses

Puberty

95.22%

558

Menstruation

94.03%

551

Correct names of body parts, including genitalia

92.49%

542

Appropriate and inappropriate touch

96.08%

563

Online safety and privacy

96.08%

563

Issues of consent

89.08%

522

What to do if you feel unsafe

98.12%

575

 

Answered

586

 

Skipped

4