RSE: handling objections from parents/carers

Your school's RSE requirements are a sensitive subject, so you might have to field objections from parents/carers. Learn about the most common ones and how to handle them.

Last reviewed on 12 April 2023See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 39570
  1. Be clear on parents' right to withdraw and your requirements
  2. Handle objections informally first
  3. "I told you during the consultation that I didn't want you to teach this"
  4. "My child is too young for sex education"
  5. "Homosexuality is a sin and I don't want you to teach my kids it's okay"
  6. "You're violating my rights"
  7. "I want to file a complaint"
  8. Large-scale objections
  9. Resources for parents/carers

Be clear on parents' right to withdraw and your requirements

Parents/carers can't withdraw their child from relationships or health education. 

In primary schools, if you choose to teach sex education, you must allow parents/carers to withdraw their child from part or all of it. 

In secondary schools, parents/carers can withdraw their child from part or all of sex education, unless you feel there are 'exceptional circumstances'. They can do this up until 3 terms before the child turns 16. After that, it's the child's decision.

In both cases, if a pupil is withdrawn, it's your responsibility to make sure they receive appropriate, purposeful education during the withdrawal period.

See more about the RSHE requirements for primary and secondary schools. 

Cover this clearly in your policy

That parents and carers have the right to request withdrawal from all or part of sex education  Who to contact to make such a request (this will usually

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