RE Legal requirements
The National curriculum states that:
“All state schools are also required to make provision for a daily act of collective worship and must teach religious education to pupils at every key stage.”
Parents do have a right to withdraw their child from RE. 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.6 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 can do so without giving any explanation.
Teachers also have the right to withdraw from the teaching of RE. However, this does not apply to teachers who have been specifically employed to teach or lead RE. If a teacher wishes to withdraw from the teaching of RE, a letter requesting this must be submitted to the headteacher and its chair of governors. If a teacher withdraws from the teaching of RE, the school must still make provisions for the pupils to receive their entitlement to RE.
At Ethelbert Road we currently follow the Discovery scheme of work, linking to the Kent agreed Syllabus. This scheme provides a Key question at the start of the term which the children are then able to explore throughout the term. This allows the children to consider both what people of a certain religion believe and what they themselves believe. This is done through a variety of activities, including class discussions, in which it is stressed that different people believe different things and it is OK to believe some thing different to someone else and not to know what you believe about something.
This allows the children to make links between a variety of religions and ways of life and their own beliefs and way of life. They are also able to explore what other people believe and begin to develop the British value of tolerance.
Each Year group studies aspects of Christianity along with at least one other religion. The grid below shows the religions and key questions studied by each Year group.