Thursday 2nd March 2017
Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening MP announced on Wednesday that young people would be taught about sex and relationships in a way which takes into account all the 21st century challenges which they face. Most importantly, she recognised the potential of a broader PSHE curriculum, saying that the Department for Education will work on what that might include.
This is an historic commitment from the Government and shows that it is serious about making sure that young people have the tools they need to stay healthy. And we believe that educating them about cancer is an important part of that.
We've long lobbied for cancer education to be part of PSHE education as our cancer awareness education lessons are mainly mapped to the PSHE curriculum. We've also supported the PSHE Association's drive to make PSHE statutory in schools, working with them on the campaign and the design of cancer awareness lesson plans, which now hold their PSHE Quality Mark. We believe, as they do, that schools should help young people to live healthy, happy lives. Changing the status of PSHE will make sure that it is subject to the same high standards as other subjects, ensuring that every young person gets a high-quality health education. We're going to work hard to make sure that includes educating them about cancer.
The Teenage Cancer Trust Education and Awareness team already does a fantastic job of empowering young people to take control of their own health. Our team travel the country to deliver hour-long presentations in schools, giving teenagers the knowledge about signs and symptoms of cancer that they'll need for the rest of their lives. In fact, our report, Transforming Cancer Knowledge, which was launched in 2016, shows that these presentations can increase teenagers' recognition of signs of cancer byup to 36%, and of risk factors by up to 26%.
After the presentation, young people said that they spoke about cancer with their friends and their families, breaking the taboo and becoming ambassadors for cancer awareness. Through education, we believer we can create a whole generation which can take charge of their health and avoid the 40% of cancers in adulthood which are preventable.
We are determined to continue to champion the role of cancer education in PSHE and will be working closely with the Department for Education and the PSHE Association as these plans develop. Wednesday's announcement has been a long time in the making, and we're excited to see the difference it will make to young people.