Law allowing parents to withdraw children from RE education should be overturned

A law allowing parents to withdraw their children from religious education should be overturned, headteachers from across England have argued in a new large study.

School officials, as well as heads of RE, think instances when selectively removed their from classes in protest at the teaching of Islam underlines why the law should be axed.

The research, carried out by Liverpool Hope University and published in the British Journal of Religious Education (RE) today, found that 41% of leaders interviewed had received requests for students to be withdrawn from teaching about one religion.

By far the largest number of these requests related to teaching about Islam. As one participant stated: "students that have been removed are the ones that need to understand the most".

Earlier this year members of a local body in Essex blamed "integration issues" on a rise in such withdrawals.

The study's authors Dr. Cathal O'Siochru and Dr. David Lundie have compiled the first hard data on the process of parents taking their children out of RE classes in this country.

They found that 71% of the 450 headteachers and heads of RE surveyed think the withdrawal element of the 1944 Education Act is "no longer required".

The right was included in the 75-year-old law to protect the rights of conscience of religious minorities from being forced to receive Christian religious instruction.

The research also found considerable legal confusion over the law, with 27% of participants incorrectly believing that parents who withdraw their children from RE need to provide the children with an alternative syllabus to follow.

Others incorrectly thought parents could withdraw their children from other National Curriculum subjects on religious grounds, or that agreeing to such a withdrawal was at the school's discretion.

Dr. Lundie, who is also Director of the Centre for Education and Policy Analysis at Liverpool Hope University, said: "The current settlement, involving the parental right of withdrawal from RE but no other aspect of the curriculum on grounds of conscience, raises important questions about the wider contribution of RE to the life of the school.

"RE is bound up with the fundamental British values of mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths, so that it is hard to see how a school could support such a right without impacting on this wider duty of the school to prepare children for life in modern Britain."


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More information: David Lundie et al, The right of withdrawal from religious education in England: school leaders' beliefs, experiences and understandings of policy and practice, British Journal of Religious Education (2019). DOI: 10.1080/01416200.2019.1628706
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Citation: Law allowing parents to withdraw children from RE education should be overturned (2019, June 28) retrieved 23 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-law-parents-children-overturned.html
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Jun 28, 2019
Islam demands jihad. Crusade against the Saracens amongst US.

@Doug: while I am the opposite of a religionist, I am still warning against spreading falsehoods against any specific religion. Read about "greater jihad" and you will understand things better.

Jun 29, 2019
Considering that Christian nutjobs are involved in an unprecedented jihad against school children in the US this looks to me like the pot calling the kettle black.

Jun 29, 2019
The goal of a "Religious Education" is to teach followership of that religion. This poorly written article makes it sound like England's education system is an Islamic Sunday school.

Jun 29, 2019
With the stem education grades declining, why shouldn't our money go to teaching the students reading, writing and ARITHMETIC? And let the child's guardians tend to the child's religious upbringing!

Jun 29, 2019
Nobody's proselytizing anyone or trying to convert them. The point is to make sure people have a good grasp of other religions than their own in order to prevent them from demonizing them.

The evidence says this is a necessary part of education for a child who will grow up in a pluralistic society with religious freedom.

I agree that there is a deficit of spirituality in our societies and that schools need thus to also set aside teaching time for ethics, morale, tolerance, values, truly humane behaviour. And indeed, as long as the religions have on this planet still such a shocking foothold over 80% of our global population, it is totally adequate to as well in schools use that occasion to educate our children about reality versa the dogmas of religions and sects. So tell them factually about the cults that have slaughtered fellow humans for encouraging their gods to bring them rain or for just following their sick wishes (remember the Isaac story?), about the logical fallacies of Buddhism, Islam, Christianity etc.

Jun 30, 2019
about the logical fallacies of Buddhism, Islam, Christianity etc.


Wow, sounds like you are a prime example of why religion SHOULD be taught in school.
You obviously only have heard one side of religion. And you obviously have never been under fire in a foxhole. You are speaking as a person from America who lives better than 93% of the rest of the world and has never known true hardship or loss.

Jun 30, 2019
This article has no more business being on a scientific website than teaching about ANY kind of religion in school.

Jun 30, 2019
If you don't teach people comparative religion they'll assume you think it's evil. Religions predispose people to that. Are you suggesting it's good for religions to hate one another? Because if you are, you're insane.

Jun 30, 2019
in days of yore
religion was taught
traditional to the country
where
apparently
a law was introduced
to take into account
the world is not quite equal
for this state of affairs
everyone was grate full
it worked
for only one religion was taught
that was this religion of this land
then these disciples got this notion
to teach comparative religions
so
there was a departure from teaching religion
to
teaching comparative religion
so
no longer was this religious education
but
comparative education
so
this law to exempt those few from religion education
does not apply to comparative education
for these are not religious education lessons as any islamic scholar will tell you
for these islamic scholars will tell you
that you cannot learn these islamic scrolls in a school that teaches christian religious scrolls
for islamic scholars teach islam in their own churches
islamic scholars do not teach comparative religious studies in a church of england school
tis time to go back to days of yore

Jun 30, 2019
Perhaps we should take a lesson from some of the other religions. I am sure they teach comparative religions in all the islamic countries schools.

And after, all a student has a very definite numbers of hours in the classroom and we should teach comparative everything and skip the math and reading altogether.

Jun 30, 2019
A Teacher's lot is not a happy lot – Comparativism

Rderkis
Perhaps we should take a lesson from some of the other religions. I am sure they teach comparative religions in all the islamic countries schools.

And after, all a student has a very definite numbers of hours in the classroom and we should teach comparative everything and skip the math and reading altogether.

For now
Teacher's have to teach comparative mathematics
Comparative physics and chemistry
And to this ultimate challenge
That will test these teachers metal
Comparative English lessons
Comprising
Comparative reading
Comparative writing
And
Finally this challenge
Comparative English Spoken Lessons

about the logical fallacies of Buddhism, Islam, Christianity etc.


Wow, sounds like you are a prime example of why religion SHOULD be taught in school.
You obviously only have heard one side of religion. And you obviously have never been under fire in a foxhole. You are speaking as a person from America who lives better than 93% of the rest of the world and has never known true hardship or loss.


Wrong assumptions. Have over 40 years studied (and practised) several religions first hand from teachers actually being believers. Am not sure, what you mean with this fire in foxhole thing. Maybe serving in a military, being under attack. That is as well applicable to me. Have also worked for the police for 12 years. Am no US citizen. And I have lived and worked several years in the so called developing world with almost daily shortage of electricity and water. Although, I am honestly not claiming any special experience of hardship and loss, beyond average Joe.

Jun 30, 2019
, I am honestly not claiming any special experience of hardship and loss, beyond average Joe.


That is pretty much what I said.
Is there anyone else here that never heard the saying or does not understand the meaning of "There are no atheists in foxholes"?

Jun 30, 2019
I am sure they teach comparative religions in all the islamic countries schools.
Ummmm, nope. If you discuss another religion they cut your head off. Maybe you like being just like them. Or maybe you like the idea of burning them alive like the Catholics did.

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