To recap: Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) and Adam (Connor Swindells) have called off their romance, and it’s clear Adam needs some lengthy therapy sessions to process all the years he spent in the closet. That doesn’t mean this ship is without a sail, however. Eric seems willing to reconcile after his exe has had some time to heal.
Meanwhile, Maeve (Emma Mackey) is USA-bound for a once-in-a-lifetime study abroad opportunity, after having just revealed her true feelings to Otis (Asa Butterfield). That leaves the young lovebirds winging it from separate corners of an ocean. Otis makes it clear that, when Maeve returns, he’ll be waiting. But he’s a teenager, and teens have never been particularly good at keeping promises.
As for Otis’ mother, Jean (Gillian Anderson)—well, that’s a whole other story. For most of season 3, Jean is heavily pregnant, but she eventually delivers a bouncing baby girl…only to learn via DNA test that the baby’s father is unknown.
To cap off the turbulent events, the students’ school, Moordale Secondary, has been sold, leaving its students in need of a new educational frontier. With all the unanswered questions leaving fans slack-jawed, here’s what we know so far about season 4.
Will there be a season 4 of Sex Education?
When first asked if he knew of any season 4 whispers, Butterfield told Cosmopolitan in September: “We don’t know [whether there will be more]. It’s out of our hands at this point. I wish I could tell you more; I genuinely don’t know.” Later, he and Gatwa revealed in an interview with ELLE that they did, however, want more episodes. In particular, Butterfield was hoping to see where Maeve and Otis’s relationship goes, and how the two of them navigate life without being so worried about their romance. “I would like to see them…look at the bigger picture,” he said. “To explore themselves and to be more focused either on their relationship with themselves or their platonic relationships with their friends and family.”
Only days later, during Netflix’s first-ever TUDUM event, Gatwa and Kedar Williams-Stirling, who plays Jackson, revealed major news: Sex Education would indeed return for season 4.
However, this will be the final season. On July 5, creator Laurie Nunn announced in a letter to fans that Sex Education would end with season 4. “We are incredibly proud of Sex Education and feel indebted to our brilliant writers, cast and crew who put so much heart into making every episode,” she wrote in the note. “They have worked tirelessly to bring you the final series, and we can’t wait to share it with you.”
When will season 4 premiere?
Sex Education returns for its fourth and final season on September 21, 2023.
Production began last year as Asa Butterfield tweeted a selfie on set on August 5, 2022, hinting that filming had officially commenced. Netflix confirmed camerawork was afoot in a tweet on August 19.
Watch the first trailer below.
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What will season 4 be about?
Netflix describes season 4 of Sex Education as such: “Following the closure of Moordale Secondary, Otis and Eric now face a new frontier—their first day at Cavendish Sixth Form College. Otis is nervous about setting up his new clinic, while Eric is praying they won’t be losers again. But Cavendish is a culture shock for all the Moordale students—they thought they were progressive but this new college is another level. There’s daily yoga in the communal garden, a strong sustainability vibe and a group of kids who are popular for being…kind?! Viv is totally thrown by the college’s student-led, non-competitive approach, while Jackson is still struggling to get over Cal. Aimee tries something new by taking an Art A Level and Adam grapples with whether mainstream education is for him. Over in the U.S., Maeve is living her dream at prestigious Wallace University, being taught by cult author Thomas Molloy. Otis is pining after her, while adjusting to not being an only child at home, or the only therapist on campus.”
It’s also possible that the next chapter might take a time jump, and Maeve will return from the states—perhaps with an American accent?—and rekindle her romance with Otis. Or not.
Is the cast coming back?
Although most of the main cast is expected to return, multiple beloved side characters will call season 3 their last.
Simone Ashley, who stars as Olivia Hanan in Sex Education, rose to super-stardom after leading Bridgerton’s second season, which arrived in March 2022. But her newfound status means she won’t be coming back for SE season 4, given her commitments to the Regency drama. She confirmed the news on ITV’s This Morning. “I get asked that all the time,” Ashley said. “No, I mean, I’m a Bridgerton girl now.”
In addition, Patricia Allison, who plays Ola, is missing out on season 4. She announced the news in an interview with Capital Xtra: “I have absolutely loved being on Sex Education, so, so much, and playing Ola, but unfortunately I won’t be joining the team for season 4…I’m so sorry to have to break that to you guys, but I’m just going to be doing some other things.”
Next, Rakhee Thakrar, who played teacher Emily Sands, also confirmed her character arc is done. “I’m not part of the new series,” she told Daily Star Sunday. “I can’t really talk about why…But I’m so proud of the show and grateful to have been part of something so important. There is nothing bad about Sex Education.”
Thankfully, Ncuti Gatwa is confirmed to return for the new season, even though he’s been cast as the new Doctor Who, Variety confirms. He’s been able to work out scheduling as the BBC sci-fi show filming now and Sex Education season 4 set to film this fall.
Are there any new cast members?
Dan Levy will arrive for his first series-regular role since Schitt’s Creek as Thomas Molloy, Maeve’s legendary American tutor at Wallace University. Other new cast members announced include Thaddea Graham, Marie Reuther, Eshaan Akbar, Felix Mufti, Anthony Lexa, Imani Yahshua and Alexandra James, Reda Elazouar, and Bella Maclean, though their roles have not been shared.
In February 2023, actress Jodie Turner-Smith announced she’d be joining the cast for season 4 as well, saying Gatwa called her directly to ask her to join.
“You may or may not see me in a little Netflix show called Sex Education,” Turner-Smith told reporters at the BAFTAs red carpert, according to Variety. “First of all all my scenes were with Ncuti Gatwa who – I DIE for him – and he’s my favorite character on the show…So when he called me and asked me to do it I was like, I don’t care how much they’re paying I’m doing [it].” There is no info yet on who her character will be.
This story will be updated.
Mel Curry (she/her) is the current assistant editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers everything from lifestyle to politics. You can often find her watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta or discovering local coffee roasters. Before joining Cosmo, she was an editorial assistant at Hearst Magazines, writing for Women’s Health, Elle, and more. Follow her on Instagram and the bird app aka Twitter.
Lauren Puckett-Pope is a staff culture writer at ELLE, where she primarily covers film, television and books. She was previously an associate editor at ELLE.