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PSHE & FACTASS :

Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), Citizenship and Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) are essential curriculum entitlements

 “It is important for parents to instil into their children at an early age the difference between right and wrong and at school there are now more courses for boys as well as girls in personal and social responsibility.”

Excerpt from the annual Disraeli Lecture, delivered by the Rt. Hon. Kenneth Baker MP, 30th January 1990

Can it really be almost a quarter-century since Kenneth Baker made this pronouncement?

The campaign to embed Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) in the UK school curriculum has been a long haul; by no means all politicians with their hand on the Education rudder have been as sensible as was Ken Baker in 1990.  Some indeed have made every possible effort to enforce a curriculum now generally thought more suited to a century earlier.

What follows here are some examples (material written by me, or with me as the lead author, for the journal Social Science Teacher) of how the debate was shaping up a quarter century ago, around the 1980s and early ’90s – material perhaps of interest to those who are now (2013) faced with very similar curricular challenges?

HB SST front title pageBack in the 1980s, just as the debate about the proposed UK National Curriculum began to engage everyone in education,  I became National Secretary of the Association for the Teaching of the Social Sciences (ATSS), and then Editor of the ATSS journal, Social Science Teacher.  In these capacities I found myself at the forefront of efforts to ensure all children (everyone, in fact) had entitlement to sound and appropriate knowledge about how their own bodies, and the society in which they lived, actually work.

Such an entitlement might seem very obvious to most of us, but it was apparently far less persuasive for some (especially Conservative) politicians then in power, and to various others such as the parent-lobbyist Victoria Gillick.  Whilst most teachers and probably most parents were keen that PSHE should be part of the then-new National Curriculum, this position was by no means unanimous.

My own response to all this was two-fold:  Firstly, I worked with colleagues to devise FACTASS – the Forum of Academic and Teaching Associations in the Social Sciences;  and then I wrote a chapter on ‘Health Education’ for the reader, The New Social Curriculum: A Guide to Cross-Curricular Issues For Teachers, Parents & Governors, edited by Barry Dufour (Cambridge University Press, 1990).

It seems however that the progress made in the 1980s and early 1990s, whilst consolidated in the decades up to 2010, is not as yet secure: still (late 2012) we see references by influential politicians to PSHE as a ‘pseudo-subject’  – a view apparently held by the current Secretary of State for Education (early 2013), Michael Gove, who it is reported believes that higher grades in ‘traditional’ subjects will remove the need for sex education.  (This article gives some examples of why I think he is gravely mistaken: The Sande Society, Sororities, Sex Education And Female Genital Mutilation: Why PSHE is Important.)

Deliberate intent to deny young people a working knowledge of their bodies and communities is in my view culpably wrong.  It is not however necessary to rehearse all these arguments anew….   I have decided instead to reprint below the debate as it was originally conducted in the later 1980s and immediately thereafter.

Our knowledge of how to help children and young people to learn about themselves has made big strides since the testing times in which FACTASS first emerged, but apparently we have yet to secure their right to that essential information.

I hope the documents below (all of which I wrote and/or for which I was the editor) will give a flavour of the way the debate about Social Science / Personal, Health and Social Education and, a little thereafter, Citizenship Education, developed during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

FACTASS: The Joint Forum of Academic and Teaching Associations in  the Social Sciences and the New National Curriculum (1986 – 1991)

1986 Social Science Teacher Vol.15, No.3:

ATSS Submits Evidence To The ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)

HB 1986 SST Vol15 No3 FACTASS & ESRC reports ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1988 Social Science Teacher Vol.17, No.3

Report: Social Science in the National Curriculum

HB 1988 SST Vol17 No3 Report Social Science in the National Curriculum 1

HB 1988 SST Vol17 No3 Report Social Science in the National Curriculum 2HB 1988 SST Vol17 No3 Report Social Science in the National Curriculum 3

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1988 Social Science Teacher Vol.17, No.3

Joint Forum of Academic and Teaching Associations in the Social Sciences (FACTASS)

Submission to the Department of Education and Science (DES): Social Science and Social Education in the National Curriculum

HB 1988 SST Vol17 No3 FACTASS Submission to the DES 1 HB 1988 SST Vol17 No3 FACTASS Submission to the DES 2

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1988: Social Science Teacher, Vol.18, No.1

FACTASS And The National Curriculum

F HB 1988 SST Vol18 No1 FACTASS Report

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1989 Social Science Teacher Vol.18, No.3

Joint Forum of Academic and Teaching Associations in the Social Sciences (FACTASS)

Submission to the National Curriculum Council: Social Science, Personal and Social Education and the Curriculum

HB 1989 SST Vol18 No3 FACTASS submission to the NCC 1F HB 1989 SST Vol18 No3 FACTASS submission to the NCC 2F HB 1989 SST Vol18 No3 FACTASS submission to the NCC 3

HB 1989 SST Vol18 No3 FACTASS submission to the NCC 4F HB 1989 SST Vol18 No3 FACTASS submission to the NCC 5

HB 1987 SST Vol17 No1 Sociology and health education in the curriculum 3

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1990 Social Science Teacher Vol.19, No.2

Editorial

Values in Teaching the Social Sciences

Education: a price for everything and a value for nothing?

S HB 1990 SST Vol19 No2 Editorial Values and ideologies in teaching the Social Sciences.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1990 Social Science Teacher, Vol.19, No.3

Editorial

The Hows & Whys of the New Curriculum

HB 1990 SST Vol19 No3 Editorial The hows and whys of the new curriculum.

1990 Social Science  Teacher, Vol.19, No.3

Readings in the Social Curriculum

HB 1990 SST Vol19 No3 FACTASS Readings in the social curriculum

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1990 Social Science Teacher, Vol.20, No.1

Editorial

Cross-curriculum, Cross Currents and the Three Cs: How the Social Curriculum solves the ‘problem without a name’

HB 1990 SST Vol20 No1 Editorial Crosscurriculum...How the social curriculum solves the problem without a name

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1991 Social Science Teacher, Vol.20, No.2

Editorial

Personal Autonomy, Personal Effectiveness or Social Empowerment?  What can education offer young people?

HB 1991 SST Vol20 No2 Editorial Personal autonomy personal effectiveness or social empowerment. What can education offer young people

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1991 Social Science Teacher, Vol. 20, No.2

The 16-19 Core and its Social Curriculum Contexts

HB 1991 SST Vol20 No2 The National Curriculum at 16+... The 16-19 core and its social curriculum contexts

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1991 Social Science Teacher, Vol.20, No.3

Editorial

A Social Curriculum for Adults? Citizenship and the Social Sciences in Further, Higher and Teacher Education

HB 1991 SST Vol20 No3 Editorial A social curriculum for adults. Citizenship and the Social Sciences in FHE

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1991 Social Science Teacher, Vol.21, No.1

Editorial

A Wider View of the Social Curriculum: International Perspectives on Personal and Social Education, Social Studies and Social Science Teaching

HB 1991 SST Vol21 No1 Editorial A wider view of the social curriculum

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Next article:

Health Education In The Context Of Personal, Social And Health Education (1987)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

More information / contacts re PSHE and the school curriculum (2013)*:

Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT)

British Sociological Association Teaching Group (formerly ATSS)

Campaign for Political Education

The Citizenship Foundation

Democratic Life

The Economics, Business Studies and Enterprise Association (EBEA)

PSHE Association: Personal, Social and Health Education

Sex Education Forum (SRE: Sex and Relationships Education) – a forum led by the National Children’s Bureau

Youth Health Talk

* If your organisation is not listed here, and you think it should be, please be sure to say so. Thank you.

Hilary Burrage was a contributor in the early 1990s to these two textbooks:

Barry Dufour (ed.), The New Social Curriculum: A guide to cross-curricular issues (1990), Cambridge University Press – chapter on ‘Health Education’       ~   & ~

Tony Lawson et al (eds), Sociology Reviewed (1993), Collins Educational – chapter on ‘The Sociology of Science and the Science of Society’

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Amanda Epe permalink
    April 21, 2013 17:17

    Hilary a long journey indeed as your call for inclusion from international perspectives on personal and social education in 1991, only now the NSPCC survey indicates an urgency for teachers awareness and knowledge on FGM for safeguarding. A lutua continua!

    • April 21, 2013 20:58

      Absolutely, Amanda!
      Extraordinary how much push it takes even to achieve patently obvious / critical change.
      Ever onwards and upwards….

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