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Education in the media: 1 December 2016

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Curriculum, Ofsted, PSHE, Sex and Relationship Education


Today’s news review looks at Ofsted’s annual report and coverage of calls for changes to the way sex education is taught.

Ofsted annual report

Ofsted’s annual report was published today and it outlines the progress made in raising standards in education in the last year. This report highlights that there has been a rise in standards across the country with 89 per cent of schools in England either good or outstanding – the highest proportion ever recorded. It means 1.8million more children than in 2010 are now in good or outstanding schools.

Although standards are improving across the board, including in the Midlands and the North, HM Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has commented on the importance of raising standards across the country. This was picked up by the Today Programme, ITV News, TES Guardian and BBC News.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

Good and outstanding schools now make up 89% of all schools inspected in England, with the proportion of primary and secondary schools in this category continuing to rise in every region of the country, including in the North and the Midlands.


We want every child to have access to an excellent education, regardless of their background or where they live. Thanks to the hard work of the teaching profession and the government’s reforms over the last six years, there are now almost 1.8 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010.


But we know there is more to do, and that’s precisely why we have set out plans to make more good school places available, to more parents, in more parts of the country - including scrapping the ban on new grammar school places, and harnessing the resources and expertise of universities, independent and faith schools. As the Secretary of State has made clear, we are also determined to put technical education in this country on a par with academic routes.


As part of the Northern Schools Strategy we are exploring a range of approaches to attract and retain high-quality teachers in the North and we want to work with the Opportunity Areas to help raise educational outcomes for pupils.

Sex and relationship education

MPs have written to the Secretary of State calling for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) and sex and relationships education (SRE) to be made compulsory in schools. This was covered in the Guardian, BBC News and BuzzFeed.

SRE is already compulsory in all maintained secondary schools and we know many primary schools teach it in an age-appropriate manner. Academies have greater freedom over their curricula but we still require them to teach SRE as part of their funding agreement.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

High quality sex and relationship education (SRE) is a vital part of preparing young people for success in adult life - helping them make informed choices, stay safe and learn to respect themselves and others.


Sex and relationship education is compulsory in all maintained secondary schools, and many academies and free schools teach it as part of the curriculum.  However, we are actively looking at options to ensure that all children have access to high-quality teaching of these subjects.

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