Relationships, sex and health education (RSHE): requirements

Get a summary of the requirements to teach relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education, which differ for primary and secondary schools. Find out what you’re expected to cover, and details on parents' right to withdraw their children from sex education.

Last reviewed on 4 October 2022See updates
Ref: 41583
  1. Your school's requirements
  2. Pupils can't be withdrawn from required subjects
  3. How Ofsted will inspect RSE 
  4. Your role in relationships and health education
  5. Expectations for what pupils should know
  6. Using RSE to take positive action 

Your school's requirements

All schools with a primary phase (including all-through and middle schools) need to provide:

  • Relationships education
  • Health education

Your school may have previously covered parts of these topics if it taught sex and relationships education (SRE) or personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education. 

This is set out in the Department for Education's (DfE) statutory guidance on relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education. 

Sex education is not a requirement

Primary schools do not need to teach sex education beyond the requirements of the National Curriculum for science.

It is down to your school to decide whether to teach additional sex education content to meet the needs of its pupils. 

This is set out in the 'Primary sex education (where taught)' section of the DfE's planning your

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