What is the status of this guidance?

This is statutory guidance from the Department for Education issued under Section 80A of the Education Act 2002 and section 403 of the Education Act 1996 – further details are in Annex A.

Schools must have regard to the guidance, and where they depart from those parts of the guidance which state that they should (or should not) do something they will need to have good reasons for doing so.

About this guidance

This document contains information on what schools should do and sets out the legal duties with which schools must comply when teaching Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education.

Unless otherwise specified, ‘school’ means all schools, whether maintained, non maintained or independent schools, including academies and free schools, non maintained special schools, maintained special schools and alternative provision, including pupil referral units.

Who this guidance is for

This statutory guidance applies to all schools, and is therefore aimed at:

  • Governing bodies of maintained schools (including schools with a sixth form) and non-maintained special schools
  • Trustees or directors of academies and free schools
  • Proprietors of independent schools (including academies and free schools)
  • Management committees of pupil referral units (PRUs)
  • Teachers, other school staff and school nurses
  • Head teachers, principals and senior leadership teams
  • Diocese and other faith representatives; and for reference for relevant local authority staff