The national curriculum

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Other compulsory subjects

Children might also need to study relationships, sex and health education, and religious education (RE).

What your child must study depends on the subject, and whether your child is in primary or secondary school.

They may not have to take exams in these subjects.

Schools must have a written policy on relationships education (primary schools) and relationships and sex education (secondary schools), which they must make available to parents for free.

Relationships education

Relationships education is compulsory for all primary and secondary school pupils.

Sex education

Sex education is compulsory in secondary schools. Parents can ask to withdraw their child from parts or all of sex education taught as part of relationships and sex education. Parents cannot withdraw their child from sex education taught in science.

Primary schools can choose to teach sex education but it’s not compulsory. Parents can withdraw their child from sex education in primary school.

Health education

Health education is compulsory for all pupils in state-funded primary and secondary schools.

Religious education

Schools have to teach RE but parents can withdraw their children for all or part of the lessons. Pupils can choose to withdraw themselves once they’re 18.

Local councils are responsible for deciding the RE syllabus, but faith schools and academies can set their own.