Dealing with requests to withdraw from religious education

You may have been approached by a parent or carer who does not want their child to take part in religious education lessons, and they ask you to withdraw them from this subject.

This can be a tricky issue to deal with, so NAHT has collaborated with the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) to produce some advice and guidance on how to deal with these requests.

In its 2018 primary school survey, NATRE found that almost 16% of the schools surveyed said they had some parents/carers asking to withdraw their child from religious education. While removing their children remains a right for parents, the law wasn’t designed for the way some are using it.

This free and relatively short (nine-page) guide, produced by NATRE and NAHT, does the following:

  • Clarifies the law
  • Offers suggestions for dealing with specific withdrawal scenarios
  • Provides tips for dealing with parental requests
  • Looks at case studies of two schools
  • Includes a helpful Q&A section

In short, it includes everything you need to know to deal with such requests effectively.

The Department for Education recognises and recommends this document.

“I like RE because you can answer lots of questions and talk to people about your religion and show that you are proud of your religion”. Pupil, aged 10.

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