Conservative Home

« Should Councils be able to regulate pedlars? | Main | It's official: Residents are more satisfied with Conservative councils »

Why councillors should oppose statutory PSHE in schools

Seaton Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education, says Conservatives should oppose the Children, Schools and Families Bill before Parliament.

It would be interesting to know if Ed Balls's current Children, Schools and Families Bill has yet been considered by Conservative local authorities. It may well become an administrative nightmare.

It will create new powers for local authorities and the education secretary to intervene to raise standards in under-performing schools. But are new powers needed? Or just some serious commitment and better focus?

The Bill will also offer parents (and pupils) a means of redress if they are dissatisfied with the provision they are offered. There could trouble here but we shall see.

Ed Balls claims that the new 'licence to practice' for teachers with regular monitoring of performance by the General Teaching Council (GTC) will give teachers the same professional standing as lawyers and doctors. The NUT isn't impressed, so it has persuaded 17,500 of its members to send postcards opposing the plans to Ed Balls. Considering the  GTC's record, the NUT may have a point. But it's missed it as usual!

'Progressive' aspects of the Bill will be more damaging. Sir Jim Rose's proposal to replace the traditional subject-based curriculum in primary schools with six 'areas of learning'  will become statutory and further reduce standards. (Subversives never forget that the primary years are when the foundations for serious learning are laid – or not.)

There will be no escape.  Even opted-out homeschoolers will be compelled to register with the authorities, so they and their children will also be victims of the whims of the political and educational establishments.

The dreaded PSHE (including sex and relationship education) will become statutory for all age groups. What used to be Personal, Social and Health Education now becomes Personal, Social and Economic education to give it respectability.  Economic education will cover the management of pocket money and the perils of debt. But the 'subject' will still be called  PSHE to build on the 'useful idiot' support it already has.

Good schools concentrate their efforts on high standards in English and maths, science, geography, history and so on. They may pay lip-service to pseudo-subjects such as PSHE and citizenship, but that's all.

So at a time when concerns about educational standards have reached unprecedented levels, Ed Balls is ensuring that every school is compelled to waste valuable lesson-time on dangerous, mind-bending PSHE lessons.

During the Bill's Second Reading on 11 January, Ed Balls said he believes Opposition Front Benchers support his proposals on PSHE.  So may many councillors.

If so, there's an excellent book that is equally suitable for councillors, MPs advisers and officials: The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education by (Professors) Kathryn Ecclestone and Dennis Hayes(Routledge, 2009).

But be warned: the state-sponsored abuse it documents is frightening. It may make your blood boil.


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.