4. Other compulsory subjects

Children must also study:

  • careers education (year 9 onwards)
  • sex and relationships education (year 7 onwards)
  • religious education (RE)

They may not have to take exams in these subjects.

Sex and relationship education

Sex and relationship education (SRE) is compulsory from age 11 onwards. It involves teaching children about reproduction, sexuality and sexual health. It doesn’t promote early sexual activity or any particular sexual orientation.

Some parts of sex and relationship education are compulsory - these are part of the national curriculum for science. Parents can withdraw their children from all other parts of sex and relationship education if they want.

All schools must have a written policy on sex education, which they must make available to parents for free.

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.

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