The government has pledged to improve the quality of personal, social and health education in schools – but again rejected demands to make the lessons obligatory.
Launching an updated strategy for tackling teenage pregnancy, children’s minister Beverley Hughes highlighted the variation in success between different areas and urged struggling councils to come up to the standard of the best.
But despite promising to improve PHSE lessons, the updated strategy will not make the subject a statutory foundation subject at all key stages as demanded last week in the sixth annual report of the Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy.
The group, charged with monitoring implementation of the teenage pregnancy strategy, insisted it was “becoming indefensible to argue against this”.
As well as promising extra support for councils failing to make progress so far, the updated strategy proposes more support for parents to help them improve their confidence and skills in discussing sex and relationships.
“While public services can do a lot to help young people avoid teenage pregnancy, we must also recognise that parents’ influence on young people’s behaviour is critical,” Hughes said.