Religious Education (RE)
Parents have the right to choose whether or not to withdraw their child from RE without influence from the school, although a school should ensure parents or carers are informed of this right and are aware of the educational objectives and content of the RE syllabus. In this way, parents can make an informed decision. Where parents have requested that their child is withdrawn, their right must be respected, and where RE is integrated in the curriculum, the school will need to discuss the arrangements with the parents or carers to explore how the child’s withdrawal can be best accommodated. If pupils are withdrawn from RE, schools have a duty to supervise them, though not to provide additional teaching or to incur extra cost. Pupils will usually remain on school premises.
Where a pupil has been withdrawn, the law provides for alternative arrangements to be made for RE of the kind the parent wants the pupil to receive. 35 This RE could be provided at the school in question, or the pupil could be sent to another school where suitable RE is provided if this is reasonably convenient. If neither approach is practicable, outside arrangements can be made to provide the pupil with the kind of RE that the parent wants, and the pupil may be withdrawn from school for a reasonable period of time to allow them to attend this external RE.
If the school is a secondary school and parents have withdrawn a pupil from RE provided at the school and asked for alternative RE to be provided in accordance with the tenets of a particular religion or denomination, then the LA must either:
- provide facilities for the alternative RE to be given at the school unless there are special circumstances which would make it unreasonable to do so
- agree to outside arrangements being made as long as no financial burden falls on the LA or school as a result of these arrangements. In the case of a pupil at a maintained boarding school where a sixth former, or the parents of a pupil below the sixth form, requests that the pupil be allowed to receive RE in accordance with the tenets of a particular religion or denomination outside school hours, the governing body must make arrangements to give the pupil a reasonable opportunity to do so. This could involve making facilities available at the school, but any such arrangements cannot be funded out of the school’s budget or by the LA.  35. Section 71(3), School Standards and Framework Act 1998 36. Section 71, School Standards and Framework Act 1998
The MPA - What we do?
The Muslim Parents Association is an independent, non-profit making organisation that provides advice, support and training for Muslim parents to advance the education of their children on a variety of themes.
Run by Parents for Parents
"The child has a different relation to his environment from ours. Adults admire their enviroment; they remember it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all in the world about him that his eyes see and ears hear. In us the same thing produce no change, but the child is transformed by them." Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind.
Meeting the needs of Muslim pupils in state schools by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB)
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Sex and Relationship Education Guidance
Head teachers, Teachers & School Governors AND PARENTS
Status: good practice
Date of issue: July 2000
Adobe Acrobat document [532.3 KB]
The key to driving up school standards
Adobe Acrobat document [122.8 KB]
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