The rules say it must be on the curriculum

Following a Freedom of Information request by the Religious Education Council and the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE), a survey has been published which reveals that there is a lack of religious education teaching in schools.

The statistics released by NATRE show that 26% of state schools do not teach RE.  Among academies, 34% do not teach RE to 11-13 year olds and 44% did not offer it to 14-16 year olds.

Under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, local authorities, governing bodies and head teachers are under a statutory obligation to ensure that religious education is provided as part of the basic curriculum. 

Whilst academies have significant freedom when setting their curriculum, the rules remain the same for maintained, academies or free schools – they must teach RE at all key stages of a child’s education.  Parents can withdraw their children from all or part of RE lessons and children may remove themselves once they reach 18.

The Department for Education reports that, “Good quality RE can develop children's knowledge of the values and traditions of Britain and other countries, and foster understanding among different faiths and cultures.”  Humanists UK Education Campaigns Manager, Jay Harman, comments in support of the DFE’s statement that, “Providing children with an objective, balanced, and inclusive education about different religions and humanism is vital to promoting mutual understanding and challenging prejudice”.

Our Education law Solicitor Thomas Emmett is based in our Basildon Office. For any enquiries call him on 01245 453847, or alternarivley email him on 

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.