In February 2015 the all-party Education Select Committee ,under the chairmanship of Graham Stuart published its report on PSHE [Personal,Social and Health Education} and SRE [Sex and Relationship Education } in schools. Just about every organisation concerned with the education and welfare of young people submitted evidence. These included Hull and East Riding Labour LGBT+ Network and Hull and East Riding LGBT Forum .The overwhelming majority of these favoured some form of mandatory PSHE anD SRE education in schools.
The report -supporting mandatory provision- when it appeared-was broadly welcomed-including by us—–although inevitably it did not cover ALL of the points that we would have liked it to have done {See previous blogs for details].
There was to be no government response until July 2015 [well in mitigation there HAD been an election]
This is what the new chair of the Education Committee,Tory MP Neil Carmichael said of the eventual response [16th July]

“The response made by the Government today is disappointing.

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 Select 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 inquiry found the Governments strategy for improving PSHE and SRE in schools to be weak .Yet there is nothing in this response to reassure Parliament-or young people-that the situation will now improve.

Ministers know that PSHE requires improvement in 40% of schools ,yet they appear to see no urgency in tackling this.

I am confident that the new Committee will pursue this matter with ministers making use of any new evidence and questioning the Secretary of State further in due course

Well—-perhaps it all depends on what you mean by ‘due course. but there is no evidence of even a bleat from the Select
Committee.
Meanwhile young people continue to suffer the consequences of being left in ignorance such as bullying,mental illness,drug addiction ,STIs sexual abuse and—-in a few tragic cases suicides.The government is failing in its duty to protect its young people from harm. It is as simple and as tragic as that.
Schools need to be properly resourced and given proper guidance. Teachers must be trained and supported. And local councils must have the backing of mandatory powers .At present the government is making it almost impossible for local council education portfolio holders and schools to do a proper job in ensuring the welfare of their young people.

Here is Councillor Rosie Nicola Hull City Council’sPortfolio Holder for Learning,Skills and Safeguarding Children as reported in the Hull Daily Mail on 27th November

“I am disappointed that the Government seems to be ignoring the expert advice currently available on this matter ”

In effect the government is preventing her from her prime duty of protecting children

Hull and East Riding Labour LGBT launched their petition for mandatory SRE/PSHE in all schools at Hull Pride in 2013—but this was aimed only at our local authorities when it was presented in 2014

Diana Johnson MP,and Cllr Rosie Nicola receive our petition from Danny Norton of Hull and East Riding Labour LGBT+ Network
Diana Johnson MP,and Cllr Rosie Nicola receive our petition from Danny Norton of Hull and East Riding Labour LGBT+ Network

The time has come for more action

We could start by trying to prod the members of the Select Committee to get the government to act.

The four Labour Members—-who should surely be pushing this are
Ian Austin [Dudley North] Kate Hullern {Blackburn] Ian Mearns {Gateshead] and Kate Osamor {Edmonton]
And the Shadow Education Secretary is Lucy Powell[Manchester Central
Please remind them of their duty on PSHE—and make a bit of a noise

Colin Livett 21st Jan 206

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