Over 150 headteachers from Cumbria have gathered to discuss forthcoming changes to the Relationships, Sex and Health Education curriculum with experts from UK-wide primary school PSHE learning resources provider 1decision.
Two events were held by the Cumbria Primary Headteachers’ Association on 6th and 7th February, one in the north and one in the south of the county, as part of its termly member meetings where current policy issues are explored. In September 2020, Relationships Education will become compulsory for all pupils in primary schools, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) mandatory for secondary schools, and Health Education compulsory in all schools bringing opportunities for headteachers.
“What we generally term Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education is high on the agenda for primary schools,” said Alex Wilkinson, Executive Secretary of the Cumbria Primary Headteachers’ Association. “Distributing, sharing and discussing information on the impending changes is a priority for headteachers whose number one focus is the curriculum and ensuring that it is appropriate to the challenges in their school. The themes covered by PSHE and related subjects are so important to society in general because they are relevant to many issues facing children on a daily basis.”
The Cumbrian headteachers heard presentations from Hayley Sherwood, creator of 1decision, and former Ofsted National Leader for PSHE education Janet Palmer. “This was the first opportunity for our members to get a glimpse of the PSHE learning resources produced by 1decision and these were well received,” Alex explained. “Many members said they attended the events specifically to learn more about PSHE and the forthcoming changes to the curriculum. It was a very useful topic to cover.”
New research by social enterprise Headway Education, of which 1decision is its PSHE partner, found schools are increasingly concerned that they are not equipped to deliver the requirements of the Relationships, Sex and Health Education curriculum from 2020. In a survey of 168 headteachers, other senior leaders and class teachers undertaken in January and February 2019, 66% of respondents said they were “concerned or very concerned” about funding to support the new curriculum. A further 60% reported being concerned or very concerned about the need for high-quality resources, finding time to teach these subjects (54%), teacher training (52%) and parental support (39%).
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