Relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education

The new curriculum will be compulsory from September 2020. Schools should start teaching from that date if they meet the statutory requirements. If they are not ready, or are unable to meet the requirements, they should begin teaching by at least the start of the summer term 2021.



This is statutory guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) issued under section 80A of the Education Act 2002 and section 403 of the Education Act 1996.

Schools must have regard to the guidance and, where they depart from those parts of the guidance which state that they should, or should not, do something, they will need to have good reasons for doing so.

This statutory guidance applies to all schools, and is for:

  • governing bodies of maintained schools (including schools with a sixth-form) and non-maintained special schools
  • trustees or directors of academies and free schools
  • proprietors of independent schools (including academies and free schools)
  • management committees of pupil referral units (PRUs)
  • teachers, other school staff and school nurses
  • headteachers, principals and senior leadership teams
  • diocese and other faith representatives
  • relevant local authority staff for reference

Schools that adopt the new curriculum early will still need to meet the current sex and relationship education statutory guidance.

Guides to help schools communicate with parents of primary and secondary age pupils are available at Relationships, sex and health education: guides for schools.

Published 25 June 2019
Last updated 9 July 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Implementing relationships education, relationships and sex education and health education 2020 to 2021'.

  2. Added a link to the sex and relationship education statutory guidance.

  3. Added link to guides for parents.

  4. First published.