Need-to-know: New relationships and sex education won’t be compulsory until September 2020

19 July 2018

Under new draft guidance, all pupils will also study compulsory health education, including the benefits of a healthier lifestyle and how to build mental resilience and wellbeing.


New statutory guidance and teaching materials

Statutory guidance on health, and relationships and sex education will become compulsory from September 2020. This was originally intended to become statutory from 2019.

The draft guidance has been released today and is being followed by a 12-week consultation.

Additional materials will be available from September 2019 to help you prepare to teach the new subjects.

Health education will include:

  • The benefits of a healthier lifestyle
  • How to prevent health problems and basic first aid
  • How to build mental resilience and wellbeing
  • How to identify signs of mental health issues, and how to respond

Relationships and sex education will include:

  • The features of healthy friendships, family relationships and intimate relationships, including same-sex relationships
  • How to stay safe online, including how to use technology safely and keep personal information private

Changes to parents’ right to withdraw pupils

Under draft guidance, parents will only have the right to request to withdraw their child from statutory sex education, up to and until 3 terms before the child turns 16. Previously, parents had the right to do this for children up to the age of 18.

You’ll only be able to refuse requests in exceptional circumstances.

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