Morgan urges 'curriculum for life'
All schoolchildren must be taught a "curriculum for life" that helps them deal with modern issues such as "sexting" and revenge porn, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has insisted.
In a speech to the Bright Blue think-tank, Mrs Morgan said schools need to do more to help youngsters "manage their lives" and "stay safe".
"NSPCC research shows that six in 10 teenagers have been asked for sexual images or videos online," Mrs Morgan said.
"And many feel compelled to do it because of peer pressure or coercion.
"Let's be clear that the internet and the advance of the digital age are things to celebrate and embrace, but let us not deny that they bring new pressures that require new responses too."
Mrs Morgan said some Tories were concerned about terms like "values", but personal, social, health, and economic education (PSHE) was key to creating successful adults.
"Who truly can object to our schools being required to promote the very values that everyone in this room holds dear? Democracy. The rule of law. Individual liberty. Tolerance of and respect for those with different faiths and beliefs," she said.
"Schools are absolutely the right places for these things to be taught, promoted and embraced.
"No matter how many times I am asked, I am simply not going to apologise to anyone for that.
"I am clear that schools have a critical role to play in turning out rounded, resilient young people that can face the challenges of the modern world with confidence.
"A strong academic core is the start, but it's just that: a start. It's not enough. We need to address the whole child."
Mrs Morgan said sex education was "an important element" of the PHSE programme.
"But it's just one part of it. In fact, proper PSHE should be much broader and should offer young people what I like to think of as a 'curriculum for life'," she added.
The Conservative minister went on: "I want more schools to put high-quality PSHE at the heart of their curriculum.
"It is an essential part of their responsibility to prepare young people for life in modern Britain...
"I know that the vast majority of schools and teachers recognise the importance of decent PSHE, and want to teach it well.
"That's why this weekend I announced a range of measures to improve the quality and provision of PSHE education in our schools.
"We will establish a new charter mark for schools in conjunction with the PSHE Association. This will be awarded to schools that demonstrate excellence in this area in order to give schools something to strive for in improving their PSHE teaching, and making it easier for schools struggling in this area to work with the best."
Labour's spokeswoman on tackling violence against women and girls Seema Malhotra said: "When we know violence in teenage relationships is on the rise, when one in three teenage girls report unwanted groping at school, when sexting and 'revenge porn' is commonplace for far too many young people, updating non-statutory guidance is just not good enough.
"We need compulsory age-appropriate sex and relationship education and the curriculum needs to give young people the tools to recognise the difference between healthy and abusive relationships.
"The Government has had at least two opportunities to vote in favour of this important change. At each point they have failed to do so and they have let young people down."