Latest update - October 2020
From Sept 2020* Relationships (primary), RSE (secondary), and Health Education are statutory aspects of the school curriculum in all state-funded schools. Sex education at primary remains recommended but non statutory. 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 curriculum and includes the non-statutory element - Economic education. Schools have a defined statutory duty to provide Careers and Financial education.
View the DfE statutory guidance for schools.
*Please see the most recent DfE communication re-implementation of statutory guidance which takes into account the effects of Covid-19 on the Sept 2020 timeline. DfE update implementing RSHE education-2020-to-2021 The DfE also recommends a continued focus on mental health and wellbeing, which is a taught aspect of statutory Health Education within PSHE.
The DfE has published Guidance for teaching about relationships, sex, and health education ( Sept 2020), which contains further information on curriculum development, engaging with parents and carers, and a series of training modules for teachers – Primary, Secondary, and SEND.
Current DfE guidance on PSHE
- PSHE is currently a non-statutory subject however, Relationships (Primary) and Relationships Sex Education (Secondary) and Health Education are statutory elements of the curriculum and core elements within the PSHE curriculum.
- PSHE supports the teaching of Character Education . Please see DfE character-education-framework
- PSHE supports Equalities education. Please see DfE inspecting-teaching-of-the-protected-characteristics in schools
- 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'. DfE guidance also states that PSHE education is ‘an important and necessary part of all pupils’ education’.
- Schools are free to determine what resources they use to cover the PSHE curriculum and how this provision is organised. A planned and developmental programme of study across all year groups with lessons part of the timetable is recommended.
DfE guidance: Relationships and Sex Education Sept 2020
- Relationships Education is statutory for years 1 - 6 and needs to be age and context-appropriate. 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. Relationships Education must comply with the new statutory guidance DfE relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education
- 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
- Primary schools must consult with parents and publish their Relationships Education policy or RSE policy (combined Relationships and non-statutory Sex Education). Schools should consult with parents when reviewing and updating policies. For policy writing guidance and support please contact Carol Stottor Carol.Stottor@buckinghamshire.gov.uk
- Any school providing Sex Education must publish its Sex Education/RSE Policy and inform parents/carers of their right to withdraw.
- There is no parental right to withdraw from any aspect of Relationships Education, PSHE, or the Science curriculum
- Schools are required to work collaboratively with parents to ensure they are well informed about when and how Relationships Education and Sex Education are being delivered, and how they can support their child. There are leaflets to support parents/carers and can be found here, DfE relationships-sex-and-health-education-guides-for-schools
- It is vital that pupils are taught to recognise how to keep themselves safe, report any form of abuse, and access support if required
- For further clarification of timescales for compliance please see the DfE update on implementing RSHE 2020-2021
- Relationships and Sex Education are statutory in all maintained secondary schools. Relationships and Sex Education must comply with the new statutory guidance DfE relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education
- From September 2020 parents have the right to withdraw students from the Sex Education until the young person is within three terms of their 16th birthday, after which students can choose to opt into Sex Education
- There is no parental right to withdraw from any other aspect of Relationships Education, PSHE, or the Science curriculum
- When any school provides sex education they must have regard to the current Relationships, Sex and Health education guidance published by the DfE. This has now replaced the previous Sex Education guidance published in 2000.
- Schools are required to work collaboratively with parents who should be consulted with and be well informed about when what and how Relationships Education and Sex Education are being delivered. It is vital to work with parents to support their understanding of what is being covered and how they can support their children. Leaflets to support parents can be found here, DfE relationships-sex-and-health-education-guides-for-schools
- It is vital that pupils are taught to recognise how to keep themselves safe and can report any form of abuse and are able to access support from trusted agencies and helplines if required
- Secondary schools must consult with parents and publish their RSE policy and continue to consult when the policy is reviewed or updated. For policy writing guidance and support please contact Carol Stottor Carol.Stottor@buckinghamshire.gov.uk
For further clarification of timescales for compliance please see the DfE update on implementing RSHE 2020-2021
DfE guidance: Health Education September 2020
- Health Education is mandated for all pupils in years 1 -11
- Puberty is part of Health Education and from Sept 2020. Parents will not be able to withdraw their children from this aspect of PSHE
- Schools are not required to have a policy for Health Education. Health Education is best referenced and included in the school’s PSHE policy and evidenced in short, medium, and long term planning
- It is vital pupils are taught how and when to access help if they need it and trusted people to approach. The school signposts pupils to safe sources of information, reputable organisations, and helplines to access if required
Highly recommended resources
The PSHE Association has published an updated Key stage 1-5 programme of study which is free to download. Please click here for the PSHE Association programme of study 2020