Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has refused to make personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) compulsory in schools, despite a lengthy campaign by a coalition of charities and MPs. Morgan admitted the subject is a “crucial part” of preparing young people for life, in a letter to chair of the education select committee Neil Carmichael. But she said that although making PSHE statutory would give it equal status with other subjects, the government is concerned that this would “do little to tackle the most pressing problems with the subject “. She said these problems “are to do with the variable quality of its provision, as evidenced by Ofsted’s finding that 40% of PSHE teaching is less than good”.
“As such, while we will continue to keep the status of PSHE in the curriculum under review, our immediate focus will be on improving the quality of PSHE teaching in our schools,” she added. Morgan’s letter accompanied the government’s response to a report into PSHE by the education select committee that was published in February 2015 and called for the subject to be made compulsory. The committee criticised the government for its initial response, which was published in July 2015, labelling it “feeble”, claiming that it did not even acknowledge the recommendation. Calls for PSHE have been growing in recent years, and just last month the chairs of the education, health, home affairs and business committees all signed a letter to Morgan to call again for PSHE to be taught in all schools.