3. What Does the Guidance Mean for Primary Schools?

What does the new Relationships Education (RE), Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education Statutory guidance mean for primary schools?

Work in a primary school? Then we have some information we’d like to share with you!

The main thing for primary schools to know about the new guidance is that Relationships Education and Health Education are mandatory in primary schools and parents/carers cannot withdraw their children.

Some primary schools may choose to teach Sex Education. If they do, they need to define any Sex Education they choose to teach (other than that covered in the science curriculum) and include information in the school policy about the right to request that their child be excused.

The focus in primary school should be on teaching the fundamental building blocks and characteristics of positive relationships, with reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other children. Brilliant!

Students should be taught about families through sensitive and well-judged teaching based on knowledge of pupils and their circumstance (including single parent families, LGBT parents, families headed by grandparents, adoptive parents, foster parents/carers amongst other structures).

The guidance acknowledges that primary-age pupils will often ask their teachers or other adults questions pertaining to sex or sexuality which go beyond what is set out for RE. Questions like….

“What does this mean? Why do we do that? How does that happen?”

We are sure everyone can think of a question like this they’ve been asked by a young person, that they might find hard to answer. The school’s policy should cover how to handles these types of questions. The guidance states that “given ease of access to the internet, children whose questions go unanswered may turn to inappropriate sources of information”. We don’t want that!

One of the main topics to be covered in primary school is puberty. Students should be taught key facts about puberty and the changing adolescent body including physical and emotional changes, menstrual wellbeing and the key facts about the menstrual cycle.

“But how do I teach about Puberty? When should I include information on LGBT?”

We know you might still have lots of questions, and so over the next few months we will be publishing a series of blogs to get into the detail and provide you with ideas on how you can meet the new guidance, with topics including puberty and LGBT, amongst many others. Keep your eye on our website to stay up to date.

You can also sign up to the Loudmouth E-Newsletter for more help and support.

Remember, a great way to start getting ready for September 2020 is to use the Sex Education Forum and PSHE Association's Roadmap and tools. You can read more about these here.

What people say

Take a look at how we’ve helped others

Brilliant acting and interaction with the children. The play itself covered puberty in an open, realistic and humorous way which forms a terrific basis for future discussion with the teacher and each other. So much depends on the enthusiasm of the actors and I feel that we were very lucky to have such a talented pair, not only to perform, but to lead the discussions afterwards. They were able to relate to the children without any embarrassment. SUPERB!!


Compared to other companies we have had covering the same content, the actors were more flexible and accommodating to the children’s individual needs. Through their answers and questions, the children were demonstrating a higher level of understanding, empathy and personal safety.

Safeguarding Lead