Why Are So Many Sex Education Stars Missing From the Final Season?

Minor spoilers ahead.

Sex Education is back for its final season, which means we’re reuniting with all of our favorite sexually curious British high schoolers—or, almost all of them. As Otis, Eric, Maeve, and the rest return to our screens for one last go-round, a few favorites are out of the picture. Sex Ed features a big cast with a few newcomers this season, so it doesn’t derail the story completely, but their absence is felt in those first few new episodes, especially if you’ve re-binged season 3 right before the season 4 premiere. As the Moordale kids (now enrolled at the fancy Cavendish College) say goodbye, here’s who we’re missing.


Ola, who ended season 3 kissing Lily under the stars, does not return for the final season. Actress Patricia Allison announced the news in an interview with Capital Xtra last July: “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.”

In an interview this summer, she also reflected on the show’s legacy. “Sex Education made people very curious about themselves, gender, and all the things we touched on about personal boundaries,” she told The Female Lead. “It incited people’s passions.”

ola sex ed



Lily was shamed in front of the whole school by Moordale’s now-ousted head teacher Hope Haddon last season, but at the end of the finale, she finds support in Ola as they kiss and look out for UFOs together. Like her onscreen counterpart, Lily “is not coming back either,” actress Tanya Reynolds told Digital Spy in July 2022.

“I think that for Lily, her storyline was just wrapped up quite nicely at the end of season three,” Reynolds said. “So she’s got no loose ends to tie up, she had quite a happy ending. At the end of last season, everyone kind of gets scattered, and I think that’s just a good opportunity to bring in some new characters.

“I absolutely will miss [her]. I love, love Lily with my whole entire being and I had the best time on those three seasons, and I will miss it for sure. I will miss Lily, and I will miss the gang. But it just kind of feels very right. It feels like time. It felt like it was my time.”

sex education season 3 tanya reynolds as lily iglehart

Sam Taylor/Netflix


Simone Ashley, who originally starred as Olivia Hanan in Sex Education, has now moved into the Bridgerton universe, which means she also didn’t return for the final season. She confirmed the news on ITV’s This Morning last year. “I get asked that all the time,” Ashley said. “No, I mean, I’m a Bridgerton girl now.”

In season 4, Ruby hints that Olivia and Anwar enrolled at another school instead of Cavendish, and that they are no longer in contact.

simone ashley sex education



Chaneil Kular, who completed Ruby’s crew as Anwar, told Digital Spy that he was a bit worried at first when he learned he wasn’t coming back for the fourth season. “You kind of have no safety net; you’ve got to do it on your own and make a name for yourself,” he said, but he was looking forward to being a “free agent” and dipping his toes in other projects. Sure enough, he’s now starring in his first film, Accused, which streaming on Netflix in the UK and Ireland.

sex education season 3

Sam Taylor/Netflix


Jean welcomes a baby with her on-off boyfriend Jakob (Mikael Persbrandt), Ola’s dad, at the end of season 3; but before the finale ends, a paternity test hints that Jakob is not the father. Jakob is noticeably absent in season 4, especially as Jean struggles to take care of the newborn and keep working. Throughout the episodes, she hints that Jakob left because “he is not the father.” Otis also simply says that he is “gone,” which could also explain Ola’s absence.

episode 4 of sex education season 3

Sam Taylor/Netflix

Ms. Sands and Mr. Hendricks

The teachers (and couple) played by Rakhee Thakrar and Jim Howick aren’t involved in the final season—but, they do make a joint cameo in one episode.

“I’m not part of the new series. I can’t really talk about why,” Thakrar told Daily Star Sunday in August 2022, per Deadline. “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.”

episode 5 of sex education season 3

Sam Taylor/Netflix

Headshot of Erica Gonzales

Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now. 


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