The Health education and Relationships Education (primary) and the secondary Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) aspects of PSHE education will be compulsory in all schools from 2020. New statutory guidance was published last week and we’ve welcomed these changes as being ‘a new era for PSHE’.

This guidance outlines what schools must cover – though not all that schools should cover – in PSHE from 2020, and the DfE is clear that those of you currently teaching health and relationships to a high standard through broader PSHE education should continue to do so.

Schools may also be confused by references in the government guidance to ‘new subjects’ to describe something they’re teaching already! However they should be assured that the health and RSE requirements simply outline which parts of PSHE will be compulsory for all schools. Our updated mapping document shows how the PSHE Programme of Study covers, and exceeds, these new statutory requirements.

This also shouldn’t have an impact on workload, but should ensure schools are better supported to use their PSHE curriculum time and resources well, and result in a levelling-up of standards across all schools. And though not yet compulsory, teaching about economic wellbeing and careers will remain a core PSHE education theme along with relationships and health.

Register as an ‘early adopter’ of PSHE health & relationships requirements

The DfE is now recruiting ‘early adopter’ schools to assess how best to support you in covering these statutory areas of PSHE. We encourage as many PSHE leads and teachers as possible to get involved given the relevance of your skills and experience. According to the DfE, schools that register and are selected to take part will:

  • help identify appropriate structures for training that will go out to teachers nationally
  • Receive advanced drafts of ‘school support products’
  • Be invited to attend a national DfE conference in the autumn (space permitting)

As with the guidance more broadly, the early adopter activities are not about unpicking what you’re already doing well, but incorporating the new statutory health, relationships and RSE guidance and requirements into the Programme of Study for PSHE education. Many of you will undoubtedly have read the new statutory guidance and thought ‘we’re doing most of this already’.

Register your interest with the DfE

If you have any queries about the early adopters programme, please contact Ade Alao at