Many headteachers are in favour of ending parents’ right to withdraw their children from religious education (RE), according to a new study. Research from Dr David Lundie and Dr Cathal O’Siochru at Liverpool Hope University found that, of 450 headteachers and heads of RE that they interviewed, 71 per cent thought that the right to withdraw a child from RE, contained in the 1944 Education Act, was ‘no longer required’.
Commenting on the study’s findings Dr Lundie 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 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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