Relationships and Sex Education Curriculum

Parent Consultation: Friday 18th December 2020 – Monday 1st February 2021


From September 2020, relationships and sex education became statutory in all secondary schools in England. Due to school closures between March 2020 and September 2020, Schools in England were given a grace period in which to update policies and resources for teaching as well as to consult with parents. As part of our work to ensure that we are meeting this requirement we would like to give you some information about what exactly we are expected to deliver to our pupils. We would also like to give you as parents and carers an opportunity to feed into this area of education to develop a shared set of values between the academy and parents and carers in this area.


What is changing?

From 2020, the following subjects will become compulsory in applicable schools in England.  This means that they must be taught.

  • relationship and sex education in secondary schools
  • health education in state funded secondary schools

The teaching of these subjects will support all young people to be happy, healthy and safe, equipping them for life as an adult in British society.

Some parts of the new curriculum, as with the current curriculum, are compulsory. These are part of the national curriculum for science.

The Academy must publish policies for these subjects online and make them available to anyone free of charge. Schools should also share examples of resources, for example books and leaflets.


The new RSE requirements:

From September 2020, all schools with a secondary phase (including all-through and middle schools) will need to provide:

  • Relationships and sex education (RSE)
  • Health education

This is set out in the Department for Education’s (DfE) guidance, which it finalised following a consultation.


Changes to the right to withdraw a child:

Parents/ carers will have the right to withdraw their child from part or all of the sex education delivered as part of RSE.  When the new requirements come into place, parents/ carers can do this until 3 terms before their child turns 16. After that, it’ll be the child’s decision.  Currently, the SRE guidance doesn’t set any age limit for withdrawing a child from sex education.

If a pupil is withdrawn, it will be the Academy’s responsibility to ensure they receive appropriate, purposeful education during the withdrawal period.

Parents cannot withdraw their child from the relationship education in RSE or health education.


Frequently asked questions: 

Throughout the Government’s engagement and development process of this new RSE curriculum, a number of wide-ranging concerns have been heard.  To support you with understanding this change in your child’s education some of the common misconceptions around the subjects are highlighted below.

Click below to access a Department for Education Document that answers any frequently asked questions that came up during the development process.


Where can I find out more information about what will be taught in my child’s school?

If you want to know more about what will be taught as part of the new subjects, the best thing to do is speak to us. You can also look at this government document which offers guidance and support in understanding the new RSE curriculum.

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These subjects are designed to equip your child with knowledge to make informed decisions about their wellbeing, health and relationships as well as preparing them for successful adult life. The important lessons you teach your child about healthy relationships, looking after themselves and staying safe, are respected and valued under this new curriculum.

Teaching at school will complement and reinforce the lessons you teach your child as they grow up. Your child’s school will have the flexibility to deliver the content in a way that is age and developmentally appropriate and sensitive to the needs and religious background of its pupils.


What will be taught in 2020/21?

By the end of secondary, pupils will need to know about:


Topics Pupils should know
  • That there are different types of committed, stable relationships. 
  • how these relationships might contribute to human happiness and their importance for bringing up children
  • what marriage* is, including its legal status e.g. that marriage carries legal rights and protections not available to couples who are cohabiting or who have married, for example, in an unregistered religious ceremony
  • why marriage is an important relationship choice for many couples and why it must be freely entered into
  • the characteristics and legal status of other types of long-term relationships
  • the roles and responsibilities of parents with respect to the raising children, including the characteristics of successful parenting
  • how to: determine whether other children, adults or sources of information are trustworthy; judge when a family, friend, intimate or other relationship is unsafe (and to recognise this in others’ relationships); and, how to seek help or advice, including reporting concerns about others, if needed

*marriage including both opposite sex and same sex couples

Respectful relationships, including friendships
  • the characteristics of positive and healthy friendships (in all contexts, including online) including: trust, respect, honesty, kindness, generosity, boundaries, privacy, consent and the management of conflict, reconciliation and ending relationships. This includes different (non-sexual) types of relationship 
  • practical steps they can take in a range of different contexts to improve or support respectful relationships 
  • how stereotypes, in particular stereotypes based on sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability, can cause damage (e.g. how they might normalise non-consensual behaviour or encourage prejudice)
  • that in school and in wider society they can expect to be treated with respect by others, and that in turn they should show due respect to others, including people in positions of authority and due tolerance of other people’s beliefs
  • about different types of bullying (including cyberbullying), the impact of bullying, responsibilities of bystanders to report bullying and how and where to get help. 
  • that some types of behaviour within relationships are criminal, including violent behaviour and coercive control. 
  • what constitutes sexual harassment and sexual violence and why these are always unacceptable. 
  • the legal rights and responsibilities regarding equality (particularly with reference to the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010) and that everyone is unique and equal. 
Online and media 
  • their rights, responsibilities and opportunities online, including that the same expectations of behaviour apply in all contexts, including online.
  • about online risks, including that any material someone provides to another has the potential to be shared online and the difficulty of removing potentially compromising material placed online. 
  • not to provide material to others that they would not want shared further and not to share personal material which is sent to them. 
  • what to do and where to get support to report material or manage issues online. 
  • the impact of viewing harmful content. 
  • that specifically sexually explicit material eg pornography presents a distorted picture of sexual behaviours, can damage the way people see themselves in relation to others and negatively affect how they behave towards sexual partners. 
  • that sharing and viewing indecent images of children (including those created by children) is a criminal offence which carries severe penalties including jail 
  • how information and data is generated, collected, shared and used online
Being safe
  • the concepts of, and laws relating to, sexual consent, sexual exploitation, abuse, grooming, coercion, harassment, rape, domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour-based violence and FGM, and how these can affect current and future relationships. 
  • how people can actively communicate and recognise consent from others, including sexual consent, and how and when consent can be withdrawn (in all contexts including online). 
Changing adolescent body
  • key facts about puberty, the changing adolescent body and menstrual wellbeing
  • the main changes which take place in males and females, and the implications for emotional and physical health



As part of our consultation process, we would like to seek your views and gauge any concerns you have regarding the content of the new RSE curriculum.  Alongside this, the legislation makes it clear that all schools should approach RSE in a faith sensitive and inclusive way, seeking to explain fairly the tenets and varying interpretations of religious communities on matters of sex and relationships and teach these viewpoints with respect. With this in mind, we would ask that you contribute to the development of our RSE curriculum by completing a short survey where we would ask you to answer a few questions relating to the content above.

We would also like to receive your feedback regarding our new RSE policy.  Below is a link which will direct you to our draft RSE policy for you to read.  The survey gives you room to comment on this policy as part of your feedback.



Consultation Meeting

As part of the consultation process, we would like to invite parents to a virtual meeting to discuss the updates to the new national RSE curriculum and to hear any feedback. We would like to hold this meeting virtually on Monday 18th January 2021 at 6pm.  All parents of students currently on roll at the UCL Academy are invited.  Please click here to request a link to this meeting. Please do not share this link with anyone else.

If you are unable to attend this meeting and would still like to have your voice heard in this consultation, please click here to complete a survey.


Disclaimer:  As per national guidance, it is important that you understand that while your views as parents are welcome and will be genuinely reflected on to reach our final decisions, they do not amount to a veto over curriculum content. We understand that different parents/ carers are likely to have conflicting views and the academy needs to consider other factors, alongside parent/ carer views, in making our decision. This means that a veto from parents/ carers is not possible and would not be in the best interests of the Academy. We are clear that all parties should engage in open, constructive and respectful dialogue at all times.

To read more about the Personal, Social and Health Education curriculum at the UCL Academy, please visit the PSHCE section of our curriculum ethos webpage at


Guides and further information on this new national RSE curriculum:

Relationships (and sex) education and health education (updated statutory guidance and consultation outcomes), DfE, February 2019:

Relationships, sex and health education: guides for parents