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Episode 1: RSE ABC: What does statutory mean for schools?

18/05/2020 | 43 min

From September 2020, Relationships, Sex and Health Education will be statutory in English schools. After decades of campaigning, this is the first time that all schools will be required to teach these subjects, and the first time since 2000 that schools have had updated guidance.


In this introductory episode we unpick the government’s new RSHE guidance and find out what it really means for schools. Our experienced guests share their opinions on why statutory matters, what challenges and opportunities lie ahead, and what schools can do to get ready for September 2020.

Referenced resources


  • Lucy Emmerson, Director, Sex Education Forum

  • Anna Martinez, Public Health Officer, Haringey Council

  • Juliet Henry, Head of Skills, Development & Progress, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School

  • Catherine Kirk, RSE Consultant, Nottingham City Council

  • Dougie Boyd, Head of Education, Brook

  • Professor Julia Hirst, Sheffield Hallam University

Further resources

Episode 2: The Primary Problem: Do we still need sex education?

18/05/2020 | 39 min

New guidance for schools on teaching relationships, sex and health education paints a confusing picture for primary schools. Sex education is not compulsory at primary, but it is ‘recommended’ that every primary school teach sex education. In contracts to the other subjects however, there is almost no information about what this should include and schools are left to fill in the gaps themselves.


In this episode we explore what the new requirements mean for primary schools and how they should decide what sex education is, and whether/when it should be taught. We speak to the PSHE Service at Brighton & Hove City Council about how they are defining sex education and why they are continuing to recommend that all schools teach Sex Education from reception onward. 

Referenced resources


  • Dougie Boyd, Head of Education, Brook

  • Sam Beal, Partnership Adviser: Health & Wellbeing, Brighton & Hove City Council

  • Isabel Reid, Primary PSHE Lead Teacher, Brighton & Hove City Council

  • Sarah Jackson, Primary PSHE Lead Teacher, Brighton & Hove City Council

Further resources

Episode 3: Pornography

19/05/2020 | 47 min

With greater access than ever before, and a growing number of young people saying they are regular consumers, what does it mean to teach about pornography in the classroom? What are the ‘facts’ and what skills do young people really need to help navigate an industry that has become unavoidable?

In this episode, we look at what schools are now required to teach about pornography and explore some of the methods and approaches that can be used. Our guests share their experience of what makes learning safe, how to manage behaviour, and how to explore a billion-dollar industry that is shaping attitudes not just towards sex, but also to relationships, bodies, sexuality and power.


  • Vanessa Rogers, Consultant, trainer, author

  • Emma Chan, Facilitator, Sexplain

  • Nathaniel Cole, Facilitator, Sexplain/Good Lad Initiative

Referenced resources

Further resources

Episode 4: Sexual Health 

08/06/2020 | 45 min


From September 2020, all secondary schools in England will be required to teach about intimate and sexual relationships, including sexual health. Data shows that better education around sexual health is urgently needed, but with major cuts to sexual health services, and most teachers lacking specialist training, how are they to deliver this new content? 

This episode explores what young people need when it comes to learning about sexual health and guests share get practical tips on what teachers can do to deliver the new curriculum. There is a visit to a sexual health clinic and guests explore how to make teaching about sexual health more inclusive for pupils.  

  • Louise Carrington, Director of Operations, Brook Liverpool

  • Zahrah Al-Bejawi, Education and Wellbeing Coordinator, Brook

  • Lota Bantiҫ, Education and Wellbeing Coordinator, Brook

  • Gayathiri Kamalakanthan, Facilitator, Decolonising Contraception

Referenced resources

Further resources

Episode 5: LGBT+ inclusive RSHE

29/06/2020 | 49 min


The new statutory guidance on Relationships, Sex and Health Education states that the new subjects should meet the needs of all pupils and that LGBT inclusion should be 'fully integrated'. This is in line with the Equality Act 2010, but the language in the guidance is vague and its not exactly clear what this means in practice.

This episode explores why LGBT inclusion matters and how it links to schools wider equalities work. Guests share practical tips on intersectionality, how to talk more inclusively about sex, and young people share their ideas about the kinds of changes that they would like to see.

Referenced resources

  • LGBT+ Youth Voices, Brook LGBT youth group 

  • Josie Rayner-Wells, National PSHE Advisor 

  • Prof. Julia Hirst, Professor of Sociology, Sheffield Hallam University

  • Ali Hanbury, LGBT+ Centre Manager, The Proud Trust 

  • Chloe Cousins, Training/Facilitator, The Proud Trust 

Further resources

Episode 6: Abortion 

20/07/2020 | 44 min


The RSHE guidance states that all pupils should leave secondary school having learnt about abortion. Abortion is one of the most routine medical procedures in the UK, but is still heavily stigmatised and research shows that it is rarely taught as part of RSE.

This episode unpicks the myths and misconceptions around abortion and highlights resources to ensure information is 'medially and legally accurate'. Guests explore the evidence and look beyond ethical dilemmas to show why abortion is a truly global issue. 

Referenced resources

  • Lesley Hoggart, Professor of Social Policy, Open University

  • Lisa Hallgarten, Head of Policy, Brook

  • Yordanos Wolde, Project Coordinator, Talent Youth Association

  • Laura Hurley, Programme Adviser, Safe Abortion Action Fund

Further resources

Episode 7: Puberty

3/11/2021 | 37 mins

All pupils should now be taught about puberty as part of Health Education. While attitudes are changing, evidence suggests that many children are still not learning the key facts about their changing bodies, with implications for their self confidence and body image, as well as their health and safety.

This episode explores what puberty is and what good puberty education should look like. Guests outline the challenges facing teachers, including naming body parts, tackling misinformation online and how 'precocious' or early-onset puberty is affecting certain populations. Pupils share experiences of puberty education at school and at home and offer their tips on how to take the anxiety and shame out of talking about the body.

Referenced resources


  • Youth voice, Year 4 pupil

  • Eleanor Draeger, Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV

  • Nick Dunne, Head of Development, Brook

  • Celia Roberts, Professor of Sociology, Australia National University

  • Youth voice, Year 10 students

Further resources

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