Netflix series Sex Education has taken the online streaming service by storm with subscribers streaming season one all over the globe. While the drama between Otis (played by Asa Butterfield) and Maeve (Emma Mackey) take centre stage on-screen, one thing to also grab viewers’ attention is the setting of Sex Education. Based in an English secondary school, but with a retro American high school aesthetic, fans are keen to find out exactly where Sex Education is set. Here’s what we know about the Sex Education setting and filming location.
Where is Sex Education on Netflix set?
The setting for Sex Education on Netflix tends to change between episodes, but the majority of the action takes place in school or Otis’ home.
Sex Education’s secondary school is called Moordale, although fans may be disappointed to discover the school is fictional.
The school set is, in fact, a campus at the University of South Wales.
The Caerleon Campus at USW shut permanently in 2016 and became the setting for Sex Education filming in 2018.
The first season of Sex Education features several shots of the campus’ exterior, complete with the breath-taking scenery which surrounds it.
Director in Production & Performance at USW, Tom Ware, told local news outlet The South Wales Angus about the filming – he said:” Last year, USW’s Faculty of Creative Industries worked extensively with Eleven Films to provide paid work experience opportunities for students across the University on Sex Education, at various times in various roles.
“For USW, it was fantastic to be associated with a top-quality production company and to have direct experience of working with one of the world’s most dynamic and innovative broadcasters”.
Ware even hinted at future working possibilities with the series should a Sex Education season two renewal be announced.
“Should future series be commissioned, we are hoping to build on our links with the production next year to provide a bigger and better experience for our students,” he said.
Sex Education filming was also based in other areas of South Wales.
According to a local news source in Penarth, Wales, the cast and crew of Sex Education were spotted filming in The Paget Arms – a local theatre.
Which exact scenes filmed in the theatre remains unknown, but it’s likely a number of the scenes set inside the school could have been shot there.
The location of Otis and Jean’s (Gillian Anderson) house is reportedly in the Wye Valley, Wales.
The official Twitter account for The Forest of Dean and Wye Valley revealed the exact locations in a tweet which read: “Have you recognised the Wye Valley in @netflix series ‘Sex Education’ with @GillianA? It was filmed all over here including at Symonds Yat, Tintern and Llandogo plus at Sterrett’s Caravan Park! #DeanWye #WyeValley #SymondsYat #VisitEngland #VisitWales #OMGB #SexEducation #Netflix”.
While Sex Education is filmed in Wales, none of the characters throughout the series pay reference to where the series is based – whether it be in a fictional or real location.
The setting for Sex Education has been a source of confusion for some Netflix viewers, with many thinking the setting had been “Americanised” despite being set in a British secondary school.
One Sex Education viewer took to Twitter to write: “Watching the first ep of Sex Education on Netflix and I know 100% it’s filmed in beautiful Wales…but the costumes and school are Americanised?”
A second tweeted: “I’m about 15 mins in to ‘Sex Education’ on Netflix, the new comedy starring the incredibly talented Gillian Anderson, filmed in Britain, with a British cast, British locations, yet something looks incredibly wrong about the whole thing!”
While a third echoed the sentiment in a tweet which read: “Been watching sex education on Netflix. whilst enjoyable and entertaining, it felt like an American programme which had been filmed in Britain. nothing about the school felt British, only American. the weather bore no relation to British weather for the supposed time of year…”
The American feel to the film is no coincidence, as a number of cast and crew from Sex Education have spoken out about the aesthetic.
In an interview with Radio Times, Gillian Anderson said: “There is a bit of both worlds, decidedly, in the series, and the aim and the hope is that Americans won’t notice – for instance, the Brits may notice that they are throwing American footballs, whereas the Americans won’t notice that that might be strange for people speaking with British accents.
“The rules are shifting all the time in terms of how an audience receives the shows that they’re watching, what they’re willing to accept and what realms and worlds they’re willing to step into to suspend their disbelief.
“I think Netflix feels quite strongly that they’ve hit on something with this amalgamation,” Anderson said.
Sex Education writer Laurie Nunn also told the publication: “I’ve always been really influenced by American film and TV shows; they played a really big part in my own teenage years, so that was always something I wanted to come back to.
“It’s definitely set in Britain, but we’ve made a very conscious choice to have that American, throw-back nostalgia, John Hughes feel to it”.
Sex Education is available to stream now on Netflix.