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Domestic Violence: Curriculum

Volume 489: debated on Friday 13 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will take steps to raise awareness of domestic violence and abuse issues among children through the national curriculum. (263019)

We agree that schools have an important role in raising awareness of domestic violence and abuse issues by giving children and young people the knowledge and skills to not only deal with their own anger but anger and violence directed towards them. Through the non-statutory framework for Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education children and young people are taught a number of the skills pertaining to relationships with partners, friends and family, thus promoting harmonious relationships. In October 2008, we announced our intention to make PSHE statutory, in recognition of the key role it plays in equipping children and young people with the knowledge and skills they need to lead healthy and successful lives. At the same time we launched an independent review of how the principle that PSHE should have a statutory status can be translated into a practicable way forward. Sir Alasdair Macdonald, the head teacher of Morpeth School in Tower Hamlets, is leading the independent review and will report in April 2009. Proposals for the statutory implementation of PSHE education will be the subject of a full public consultation. Due to the time needed for full public consultation and parliamentary process, statutory PSHE is unlikely to come into effect before 2011.

The secondary curriculum also encourages schools to tackle social issues through cross-curricular links. For example, Citizenship teaches children and young people about legal and human rights and responsibilities underpinning society, basic aspects of the criminal justice system and the importance of resolving conflict fairly.