Sex Education season 4: Everything we know about the Netflix show's return

Connor Swindells, Ncuti Gatwa, and Asa Butterfield in Sex Education season 3
(Image credit: Netflix)

It's the final countdown: Sex Education season 4 now has a release date, and Netflix has confirmed that it will be the final installment of the hit comedy-drama. It makes sense for this to be the last hurrah for the students of Moordale Secondary, with actors like Emma Macket and Ncuti Gatwa having already confirmed that they wouldn't be returning for potential further seasons.

Sex Education season 4 promises to switch up the formula, with Moordale closing its doors and pupils having to transfer to another institution – and one that seems far more liberal than they're used to if the new teaser trailer is anything to go by… As well as the full lowdown on the trailer, we've also got everything you need to know about the show's cast, from new faces to actors who won't be back for round four, as well as a recap of the story so far. So, without further ado, let's go out with a bang.

Sex Education season 4 release date

Gillian Anderson in Sex Education season 3

(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix has confirmed that Sex Education season 4 will be releasing on September 21, just in time for the new school year. 

Sex Education season 4 trailer

The first trailer for Sex Education season 4 is here – and the clip confirms that it's the show's final installment. The short teaser shows Otis introducing himself (and the rest of the Moordale cohort) to his new classmates at Cavendish Sixth Form College. In classic (i.e. awkward) Otis fashion, he tells everyone that he's a sex therapist – but not before he's accidentally implied that he's in a relationship with his mother. We'd expect nothing less. Elsewhere, we get a glimpse of Jean with her new baby, Aimee, uh, enjoying single life, and some longing glances between Otis and ex-beau Ruby. 

Sex Education season 4 cast 

Aimee Lou Wood and Emma Mackey in Sex Education season 3

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Sex Education season 4 cast has seen some pretty big changes since the end of season 3, with several confirmed exits. We know that Simone Ashley is definitely not returning as Olivia – Ashley joined the cast of Bridgerton for the show's second season as leading lady Kate Sharma, and she has since confirmed that she's swapped modern-day high school for Regency high society once and for all. 

Patricia Allison, who plays Ola, has also confirmed she "won’t be joining the team" for the new season, while Tanya Reynolds, who plays Ola's love interest Lily, is also exiting the show. "I’m not [returning], actually, which is sad, very sad," Reynolds told Radio Times. "It’s just the natural progression of these shows – when you have such big ensemble casts and so many characters, I think you have to let a few older characters go to make way for newer ones, which is absolutely the right thing, the way it should happen."

The next to exit was series regular Rakhee Thakrar, who plays teacher Emily Sands in the drama. "I’m not part of the new series," Thakrar told the Daily Star on 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."

But don't worry, there'll still plenty of familiar faces to be found in season 4. Asa Butterfield is back as Otis, with Gillian Anderson returning as Otis' sex therapist mother, Jean. Series regulars Ncuti Gatwa (Eric), Connor Swindells (Adam), Aimee-Lou Wood (Aimee), Kedar Williams-Stirling (Jackson), Dua Saleh (Cal), Mimi Keene (Ruby), Chinenye Ezeudu (Viv), and George Robinson (Isaac) are also making a comeback, along with Alistair Petrie and Samantha Spiro as Adam's parents, Michael and Maureen. 

Schitt's Creek star Dan Levy has joined the cast as author and professor Thomas Molloy, and shared a photo on set next to Emma Mackey – confirming the announcement and also Maeve's return, although the actor told the Radio Times that she'll be in the show "less consistently".

Season 4 looks likely to be Mackey's last, too, as she tells Total Film: "It's just always tricky, it's different when you're playing a character that is sort of stuck in time. You know, we're playing 17-year-olds, and we're all almost 30, it is a bit weird. It's a blessing because it is a launchpad, and it is something that has given us opportunities in different ways but it's something that I want to gracefully exit from, and be happy that it exists and protect it and enjoy it in the time that it has existed in but yeah, it needs to be left alone now, I think. 

"We can all move on and take what we learned from Sex Ed as well because it has been a school, quite literally, for all of us. It's just wonderful to have had that education and to have that baptism of fire and to have just been flung into that whole world. I think it's made us stronger."

It's also the end of the road for Gatwa as Eric, as he's set to be a lot busier going forward as the new Doctor Who. He seems happy with Eric's send-off, though, telling Vogue: "He gets the ending I wanted for him. Things get tied up." 

As for new additions, Queen & Slim's Jodie Turner-Smith has joined the cast in a mysterious new role, playing "somebody new who comes into Eric’s life," according to Gatwa.

Sex Education season 4 plot 

Connor Swindells in Sex Education season 3

(Image credit: Netflix)

Warning: Sex Education season 3 spoilers ahead.

Sex Education season 3 concluded another chapter in Otis and Maeve's will-they-won't-they relationship – the season finale ends with the pair finally getting together before promptly parting ways, as Maeve heads off to the US for a study program over the summer. Season 4, then, will explore whether distance has made either of their hearts grow fonder. Elsewhere in the finale, Jean gives birth and recovers from surgery after suffering a hemorrhage during labor. She also receives the results of the baby's paternity test, so it's likely that we'll see the fall-out of that result in season 4. 

Plus, the season 3 finale sees Eric and Adam break up, as Eric is struggling to be in a relationship with someone who isn't comfortable with who they are. As for what we can expect from Eric in season 4, Ncuti Gatwa has teased a scene he wrote himself with co-star Aimee Lou Wood. "There was one scene that I particularly fought for, and I managed to get it in, which was great," he told Vogue. "Aimee and I wrote it, and we were redrafting it until like 3am the day before. I’ve never written for Eric before so that felt big, and it was a scene that meant a lot to me in terms of Eric’s journey and relationships. It felt very necessary."

And, in a move that will probably be the biggest plot point of the new season, the students of Moordale Secondary find out that their school is being sold to developers and are told that they need to find alternative arrangements to finish their education. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new season "will feature a mix of old and new faces as Sex Education moves on from the shuttered Moordale High in favor of a new school" and we can expect a "creative reset".

"The characters feel like they're in very new territory because they literally are, they're at a new school. A lot of our feeling slightly off-center is actually also just because of what is happening in the story which is that they are [at] a new school," Aimee Lou Wood told Digital Spy

"Aimee, particularly, her best friend's in America, she doesn't have a boyfriend for the first time ever, she's at a brand new school where she doesn't have any mates. So there's a lot of newness for all of the characters and I think that that does make the show feel very new."

And, whatever happens, we know that this is the final season – so we can expect every storyline to reach a conclusion. 

Need more viewing inspiration? Check out our picks of the other best Netflix shows that are available to stream right now.

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.