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Education Select Committee describes Government’s response to its PSHE and SRE report as ‘feeble’

SRE - It's my right

The BHA is supporting the Sex Education Forum’s ‘SRE – It’s my right’ campaign.

The Department for Education (DfE) has today published its response to the Education Select Committee’s report, Life lessons: PSHE and SRE in schools. The report, published in February, called for personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, including sex and relationships education (SRE), to become a statutory subject in all English schools. However, the DfE in its response, has side-stepped this and other recommendations, including funding teacher training. The British Humanist Association has expressed disappointment that the Government continues to ignore the evidence base, which supports legalisation.

Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan, in her introduction to the response, states that she will ‘examine all options, including the recommendations, in making sure PSHE is taught well everywhere’. But in the actual responses to them she does no such thing. As a result, new Education Select Committee Chair Neil Carmichael has today commented that ‘Ministers entirely sidestep the call made by MPs in the closing months of the last Parliament to give statutory status to PSHE. They also reject or brush over nearly every other recommendation made by the previous Education Committee in their key report published five months ago. It is unclear why it should have taken the Government so long to publish such a feeble response.’

The BHA’s submission to the Education Select Committee was cited in its final report. Commenting on the Government’s response, BHA Campaigns Manager Richy Thompson commented, ‘The evidence is clear: high-quality, comprehensive and age-appropriate PSHE and sex and relationships education substantially improves outcomes for young people in terms of delaying young people having sex for the first time, ensuring such relationships are safe and consensual, and preventing teenage pregnancies, abortions and the spread of sexually transmitted infections. It also helps prevent homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, cyberbullying, gender stereotyping, and sexting.

‘Such education leads, quite simply, to happier, healthier young people; happier, healthier adults; and happier, healthier relationships. The Government urgently needs to make it statutory to ensure every young person receives it.’


For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson at or on 020 7324 3072.

Read the Education Select Committee’s report:

Read the Government’s response, published today:

Read the Education Select Committee’s comment on this response:

Read the BHA’s submission to the Education Select Committee’s inquiry:

Read more about the BHA’s work on PSHE and SRE:

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

The BHA is a member of both the Sex Education Forum and the PSHE Association.

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