Coronavirus (COVID-19)


PSHE Guidance

PHSE guidance

Latest update - August 2019

On the 19 July, the DfE announced that both Relationships/RSE and Health Education will become statutory in all state funded schools from September 2020. Whilst PSHE has not achieved statutory status across the board, Health and Relationships/ Relationships and Sex Education constitute a significant part of PSHE. PSHE remains a distinct discipline to be taught as part of the school currciulum and includes the non-statutory element - economic education. Schools have a defined statutory duty to provide careers education and financial education.

View the final DfE guidance for schools.


Current DfE guidance on PSHE

  • PSHE is currently a non-statutory subject; Relationships (Primary) and Relationships and Sex Education (Secondary) and Health Education will be statutory from September 2020 and schools are expected to be preparing for the implementation of the new guidance from September 2019.
  • Schools have a duty to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum and one that supports the personal development, behaviour, welfare and safeguarding of pupils (Education Act 2002 and Academies Act 2010). 
  • In January 2014, the Department for Education updated its timeline of mandatory information for schools, making it clear that a school’s PSHE curriculum should be published and available for parents to view and  should contain the same level of detail as for other curriculum subjects.
  • The introduction to the  national curriculum states that all state schools ‘should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice'. Department for Education guidance also states that PSHE education is ‘an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education’.
  • Sex Education is statutory for all secondary schools and recommended for primary school. Parents currently have the right to withdraw their child from Sex Education lessons at both primary and secondary school.
  • Any school providing Sex Education must publish its Sex Education Policy and inform parents of the content and timing of these lessons and their right to withdraw. Schools are required to work collaboratively with parents who should be consulted with and be well informed about this aspect of their child’s education.

When any school provides sex education they must have regard to the current Secretary of State’s guidance and the new sex and health education guidance issued in July 2019


DfE guidance: Relationships and Sex Education Sept 2020

  • Sex education remains recommended but not compulsory for primary schools and is recognised as an important part of PSHE education, providing a reliable source of information on Sex Education and is protective in terms of safeguarding and reporting concerns.
  • Sex Education is statutory in all maintained secondary schools.
  • All schools offering Sex Education must have a Sex Education policy and consult with parents on the content and timing of sex education.
  • Parents have the right to withdraw from sex education. From September 2020 this applies until the young person is within three terms of their 16th birthday when they can choose to opt in.
  • Schools are required to consult with parents when updating their Sex Education policy and provision.
  • Relationships Education needs to be age and context appropriate and schools are expected to work sensitively with their communities whilst maintaining an inclusive approach in order to fulfil their duty with regards to the  2010 Equalities Act.


DfE guidance: Health Education September 2020

  • Health Education is mandated for all pupils aged 5 – 16
  • Puberty is part of Health Education and from 2020 parents will not be able to withdraw their child from this aspect of PSHE


Highly recommended resources

The PSHE Association has published a Key stage 1-5 programme of study which is free to download and use.

They have also produced ‘The ten principles of effective PSHE education’ which underpins good practice in school. This is a useful document to share with teachers and the PSHE governor.

Key stage 1-5 programme of study

The ten principles of effective PSHE education

Was this page helpful?

Very poor
Neither good nor poor
Very good