The legal requirements concerning the provision of Religious Education and an Agreed Syllabus flow, principally, from the Education Act 1996 (S. 375), the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (SS. 69 and 71 and Schedule 19) and the Education Act 2002 (S.80).
- Religious Education must be provided for all registered pupils in full time education except those withdrawn at their parents’ request.
This includes pupils in:-
- Reception classes but not those in nursery classes
- Years 12 and 13 (but not those in Sixth Form Colleges)
- Special Schools, where provision for Religious Education should be delivered as far as is practicable
- Sixth Form Colleges who may wish to provide Religious Education
- Community Schools, Foundation Schools and Voluntary Controlled Schools. Religious Education must be taught in accordance with the locally Agreed Syllabus
- Foundation and Voluntary Controlled Schools with a religious foundation. Parents may request Religious Education in accordance with the school’s Trust Deed, or in accordance with the beliefs or denomination specified in the designation of the school
- Voluntary Aided schools with a religious character. Religious education is taught in accordance with the Trust Deed, or with the beliefs or denomination specified in the designation of the school, to reflect the religious character of the foundation. The Governing Body of a Voluntary Aided school has the responsibility to choose whether or not to adopt the locally Agreed Syllabus
- Academies which are bound by their funding agreement to provide for RE in accordance with the requirements of new Agreed Syllabuses as set out in the 1988 Education Reform Act (see below)
- For academies that were previously Voluntary Aided (VA) schools, the model funding agreement states that an academy that was previously VA with a religious designation must provide RE in accordance with the tenets of the particular faith specified in the designation. Such academies may, in addition, provide RE that is in line with a locally agreed syllabus and teach about other faiths if they choose
- A locally Agreed Syllabus (and an academy‐developed syllabus) must 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’.
- In schools where an Agreed Syllabus applies, Religious Education must be non‐ Teaching about denominational differences is permitted.
- In Foundation, Community Maintained and Voluntary Controlled schools, the Head Teacher, along with the Governing Body and the Local Authority, is responsible for the provision of Religious Education
Note: All parents have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education. This right of withdrawal must be stated in the school prospectus and/or web page.