Yes. In primary schools, parents and carers can withdraw their child from any of the sex education delivered, other than as part of the science curriculum.
In secondary schools, parents and carers will have the right to request that their child be withdrawn from some or all of the sex education delivered as part of statutory RSE which, unless there are exceptional circumstances, should be granted up to three terms before their child turns 16. At this point, if the child themselves wishes to receive sex education, the school should make arrangements for this to happen in one of the three terms. Before granting any such request it would be good practice for the head teacher to discuss the request with parents and carers and, as appropriate, with the child to ensure that their wishes are understood and to clarify the nature and purpose of the curriculum. Schools will want to document this process to ensure a record is kept.
For SEND pupils, the head teacher may want to take a pupil’s specific needs into account when making decisions about whether a pupil may be excused.
The head teacher will normally discuss with parents and carers the benefits of receiving this important education and any detrimental effects that withdrawal might have on the child. This could include any social and emotional effects of being excluded, as well as the likelihood of the child hearing their peers’ version of what was discussed in class, rather than what was directly discussed by the teacher (although the detrimental effects may be mitigated if parents and carers propose to deliver sex education to their child at home instead).