RSE, consent and uncertainty – Why ‘teacher-led’ has its limits

Schools have long played a part in shaping young people’s morality, but the government’s new RSE demands risk taking this role a step too far, cautions Ian Mitchell in the latest Education Forum column for Teach Secondary magazine…

Schools have long been expected to help shape the moral character of their students. In presenting his 1944 Education Act to parliament, R.A. Butler claimed that, ‘Family life is the healthiest cell in the body politic. It is the Government’s desire that family life shall be encouraged.’

However, this shaping of moral character was hitherto achieved via the teaching of specific knowledge and/or implicit endorsement of family values. Supporting development is one thing; determining development is quite another.

Unfortunately, contemporary politicians increasingly see schools and teachers in the same way that Priestley saw his enigmatic inspector – as agents of morality who can explicitly put the world to rights. While flattering, I fear that teachers are no more effective at combatting social problems, such as sexual harassment, than Priestley’s inspector was at promoting socialism...

Read the full article on TeachWire.