Education Select Committee Inquiry into PSHE and SRE

Charities welcome inquiry into the quality of PSHE and sex and relationships education in schools


Press release: Wednesday 23rd April 2014

Leading children’s charity the National Children’s Bureau and the Sex Education Forum have welcomed today’s announcement that there will be a national inquiry into Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) and Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in schools. The Education Select Committee Inquiry will ask whether PSHE ought to be a statutory part of the curriculum and investigate the quality of teaching of SRE – including in primary schools and academies.


Dr Hilary Emery, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau said:

“Young people continually tell us they want an education that prepares them for life. PSHE and SRE are key to achieving this and help children in a variety of ways; for example, in developing safe and healthy relationships, building self-esteem and resilience, and understanding money and how to manage their finances.”

“The current situation, where PSHE is left to the discretion of schools, means that the teaching children receive in this vital subject lacks consistency. Making PSHE statutory would lead to improvements in the quality of provision, with better teacher training, assessment and closer inspection.”

“We are pleased that there will be cross-party focus on the future of PSHE and SRE in schools, and hope this results in a more secure future for the subject.”


Lucy Emmerson, Coordinator of the Sex Education Forum said:

“The consensus of public support for SRE being taught in all schools has never been clearer. This inquiry is an important opportunity to look at how standards can be improved so that all children are guaranteed good quality SRE. We particularly welcome the fact that the committee will question whether PSHE should be statutory. We have campaigned for statutory SRE within PSHE for many years and change is urgently needed.”

“This inquiry is a final opportunity for the Coalition government to take decisive action to bring SRE up-to-date and to ensure that learning about consent, relationships and sex is included in the education of every child – as is their right. We look forward to supporting the inquiry, and in the meantime we encourage schools to look at our ‘21st century’ SRE Advice, produced with Brook and the PSHE Association, which is available from /resources/sre-advice-for-schools.aspx



For more information please contact the National Children's Bureau's media office on 0207 843 6045 / 47 or email For urgent enquiries out of office hours call 07721 097 033.


Notes to editors 

About the National Children's Bureau
The National Children's Bureau (NCB) is a leading charity that for 50 years has been improving the lives of children and young people, especially the most vulnerable. We work with children and for children, to influence government policy, be a strong voice for young people and practitioners, and provide creative solutions on a range of social issues. To support our work, donate £4 by texting ‘YNCB14 £4’ to 70070. For more information visit


About the Sex Education Forum
The Sex Education Forum is the national authority on sex and relationships education (SRE). We believe that good quality SRE is an entitlement for all children and young people and we are working with our member organisations - including religious, children's, parents, health and education organisations - to achieve this. For further information visit:


Supplementary Advice
Brook, the PSHE Association and the Sex Education Forum collaborated on the production of Supplementary Advice (28 February 2014) to complement the Government's statutory guidance on SRE, and to support teachers in improving the delivery of the topic in schools.

The advice provides information to teachers on topics that are missing from current guidance published in 2000, including issues about pornography, the safe use of technology, sexual consent, violence and exploitation.

The Supplementary Advice is welcomed by the DfE and supported by a range of other government, education and voluntary sector stakeholders including many of the core members of the Sex Education Forum.

Download SRE for the 21st Century - Supplementary Advice for schools . The Advice is also available from Brook and the PSHE Association web-sites.