BHA: MPs vote against adding PSHE to the national curriculum

MPs yesterday debated proposals to add Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, including Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), to the national curriculum. The amendment to the Children and Families Bill, which was introduced by Labour with support from the ‘Coalition of Consent pop up campaign’, was defeated by 303 votes to 219. The British Humanist Association (BHA) asked members of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group (APPHG) to vote in support of the plans.

Yesterday also saw APPHG Vice Chair Baroness Massey of Darwen ask an oral question in the House of Lords, ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the report by Ofsted Not Yet Good Enough: Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education in Schools, published on 1 May.’ During the brief debate that followed a number of peers voiced agreement with the conclusion of Ofsted’s report that more needs to be done to improve PSHE, with Baroness Massey also calling for its addition to the national curriculum.

BHA Education Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘It is vital that all young people receive full and comprehensive PSHE and sex and relationships education, as the evidence shows that this means young people start having relationships later, makes those relationships more likely to be consensual, and improves sexual health.

‘It’s disappointing to see continued opposition to adding PSHE to the national curriculum – something which had cross-party support in 2010, and only didn’t become law because the plans were not passed before the general election. However, it is heartening to see the huge support that these proposals have had over the past week from the Labour Party, many non-governmental organisations and in the media. This remains a question of “when” and not “if”. Our mission then is to make this a reality as soon as possible, in order to start improving outcomes for young people.’


For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson on 020 7324 3072.

Read more about the Coalition of Consent:

Read the amendment:

Read the debate in the Commons:

Read the debate in the Lords:

Read the previous BHA news item, ‘BHA welcomes Ofsted report highlighting need for improvements in PSHE’, 1 May 2013:

Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on PSHE and Sex and Relationships Education:

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief. The BHA contributes to debate on a wide range of ethical issues from stem cell research to sex education. The BHA is a member of the National Children’s Bureau Sex Education Forum (SEF) and the Children’s Rights Alliance for England.