Statutory guidance

Relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education

Statutory guidance on relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education.

Applies to England



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

To help school leaders follow this statutory guidance, we have published:

Updates to this page

Published 25 June 2019
Last updated 13 September 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updates to the page text to make it clear this guidance is now statutory. Updated the drugs and alcohol section of annex B to include a link to the teacher training module on drugs, alcohol and tobacco and to remove the link to the research and briefing papers. We have not made changes to any of the other guidance documents.

  2. Added 'Implementing relationships education, relationships and sex education and health education 2020 to 2021'.

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

  4. Added link to guides for parents.

  5. First published.

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