Relationships and health education: requirements (primary)

Get a summary of your requirements to provide health and relationships education. Find out what you’re expected to cover and what the guidance says about sex education.

Last reviewed on 22 April 2022
School types: All · School phases: Primary
Ref: 37089
  1. Your requirements
  2. Pupils can't be withdrawn from required subjects
  3. How Ofsted will inspect RSE 
  4. Expectations for what pupils should know 

Your requirements

All schools with a primary phase (including all-through and middle schools) need to provide:

  • Relationships education
  • Health education

You probably covered parts of these topics already if you taught SRE or PSHE (personal, social, health and economic) education - which used to be optional for state-funded primary schools.

This is set out in the DfE's statutory guidance. 

Sex education is non-compulsory 

Primary schools aren't required to provide sex education, but the DfE recommends you put a programme in place if you don't have one already.

You must have a relationships and sex education (RSE) policy 

You need a policy in place for relationships (and sex) education and you must consult parents to develop and review it.

This requirement is outlined in sections 8 to 12 of the Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019. We clarified with