RE & Collective Worship - A guide for families
Every pupil has a legal entitlement to RE and Collective Worship.
RE and Collective Worship is a necessary part of a ‘broad and balanced curriculum’ and must be provided for all registered pupils in state-funded schools in England, including those in the sixth form, unless withdrawn by their parents (or withdrawing themselves if they are aged 18 or over).
This requirement does not apply to pupils below compulsory school age (although there are many examples of good practice of RE in nursery classes).
Special schools should ensure that every pupil receives RE and Collective Worship ‘as far as is practicable’.
RE is locally determined, not nationally
Maintained schools without a religious character must follow the locally agreed syllabus.
Voluntary controlled schools with a religious character should follow the locally agreed syllabus unless parents request RE in accordance with the trust deed or religious designation of their school.
Voluntary aided schools with a religious character should provide RE in accordance with the trust deed or religious designation of their school unless parents request the locally agreed syllabus. In many of these school types there will be an overarching body, such as a diocese, which can offer support.
RE is compulsory for all pupils in academies and free schools as set out in their funding agreements. This is a contractual responsibility. Academies may use their locally agreed syllabus, a different locally agreed syllabus (with the permission of the SACRE concerned) or may devise their own curriculum.
RE is multi-faith, and recognises the place of Christianity and the other principal religions in the UK. Non-religious worldviews are included
The RE curriculum, drawn up by a SACRE or used by an academy or free school, ‘shall reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, while taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain’. Contemporary guidance from the Government makes clear that the breadth of RE will include the six principal religions of the UK and non-religious worldviews.
Parental right of withdrawal from RE and Collective Worship
This was first granted in 1944 when curricular RE was called ‘Religious Instruction’ and carried with it connotations of induction into the Christian faith. RE is very different now – open, broad and exploring a range of religious and non-religious worldviews. In the UK, parents still have the right to withdraw their children from RE on the grounds that they wish to provide their own RE. This provision will be the parents’ responsibility. This right of withdrawal exists for all pupils in all types of school, including schools with and without a religious designation. Parents also have the right to withdraw their child from part of RE and Collective Worship, and can do so without giving any explanation.
What to do if you wish for your child to withdrawal from RE or Collective worship
- If you are considering withdrawal please contact the school office by email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01606 288140 and ask to book an appointment with the Headteacher or Deputy Headteacher*. At the meeting please discuss the religious issues you object to your child being taught about. The school will show give you an opportunity to look at the locally agreed syllabus, lessons from the RE scheme of work, collective worship themes and resources.
- If you still wish to withdraw you child please in from the school in writing using the email above.
* Parents also have the right to withdraw their child from part of RE and Collective Worship, and can do so without giving any explanation. Please note that parents can only withdraw their child from RE, not other curriculum areas. For example, pupils can’t be withdrawn from a study of religious art in an art lesson, or parts of the history curriculum such as the study of faith conversions.