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Personal, Social and Health Education

Volume 620: debated on Thursday 2 February 2017

7. What assessment she has made of the potential role of personal, social and health education in promoting equality. (908520)

We want schools to put high-quality PSHE at the heart of their curriculum, ensuring that all young people are prepared for life in modern Britain. Effective PSHE not only helps provide pupils with key life skills, but gives them the knowledge to understand their rights and responsibilities to respect individual differences and to challenge prejudice and discrimination.

Does the Secretary of State agree that embedding PSHE—life skills as she correctly terms it—will help us to deal with social mobility and productivity, and that we should see proper, age-appropriate teaching across the piece in our schools?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to link this matter with social mobility. We know that strong PSHE can make the biggest difference to young people growing up in more disadvantaged communities. It is important not only that we have healthy, resilient and confident pupils coming out of our education system who are better placed to do well academically, but that we improve our non-academic outcomes, as that is also hugely valued by employers.

The Minister will recognise that the churches play a key role in personal, social and health education. What discussions has she had, or will she have, in relation to that role that churches can play in education?

The hon. Gentleman raises an important point, because we have a large number of faith-based schools. Indeed, the values that we want to give our young people as they come through the education system are not only British but often underpinned by faith values. Coming back to the point on the economy, PSHE can really help students develop their teamwork, communications skills and resilience—precisely the sorts of things that British business wants.