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Relationships and Sexuality Education

Links to Children's Rights


Article 2 "Your right to equality and non-discrimination."

Article 6 "Your right to grow up and be healthy."

Article 13 "Your right to have information."

Article 34 "Your right to be protected from abuse."



Relationships and Sexuality Education will be mandatory from 2022 and is considered as part of the Health and Well-Being Area of learning, as well as being a cross cutting theme across all learning.  



Relationships and sexuality education


Relationships and sexuality education (RSE) plays a vital role in enhancing learners’ well-being and safety and will be mandatory. Children begin to learn about relationships long before they start school. As soon as they enter the social world they will be encountering and interacting with complex and often contradictory messages about gender, relationships and sexuality that will shape their day-to-day lives and imagined futures. These messages come from advertising, books, music, social media and television, and from family members, peers and communities. What children and young people are learning and experiencing can include misconceptions and sometimes challenge adult assumptions or expectations. Through RSE, learners should be supported to explore and discuss information and values about relationships and sexuality that they are already exposed to and often struggle to navigate for themselves.


Schools have an important role for prevention and protection, discussion and responding to learners’ questions and needs. They have the potential to create safe and empowering environments that build upon learners’ own formal and informal learning and experiences, offline and online. This enables learners to reflect and express their views and feelings on a range of RSE issues. Central to this is acknowledging, discussing and engaging with a diverse range of perspectives: locally, nationally and internationally.


Relationships and sexuality education aims to gradually empower learners to build the knowledge, skills and ethical values for understanding how relationships, sex, gender and sexuality shape their own and other people’s lives. It seeks to support learners’ rights to enjoy equitable, safe, healthy and fulfilling relationships throughout their lives. This includes the ability to recognise, understand and speak out about discrimination and violence and know how and where to seek support, advice and factual information on a range of RSE issues.

Relationships and sexuality education should include developmentally appropriate learning around the following thematic areas.


  • Rights and equity

  • Relationships

  • Sex, gender and sexuality

  • Bodies and body image

  • Sexual health and well-being

  • Violence, safety and support