Legal context of RE
Religious Education is a statutory subject for all pupils aged 5-18 and must be provided for all registered pupils in state-funded schools in England, including those in the
sixth form, unless withdrawn by their parents (or withdrawing themselves if they are aged 18 or over).It is a necessary part of a ‘broad and balanced curriculum’. Special schools should ensure that every pupil receives RE ‘as far as is practicable’
RE is determined locally, not nationally:
Religious Education in North Yorkshire is supported by SACRE (The Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education) and the School Improvement Service.
A locally agreed syllabus is a statutory syllabus for RE recommended by SACRE through an Agreed Syllabus Conference for adoption by the local authority. The RE curriculum drawn up by SACRE, shall 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’. Education Act 1996 section 375.
- North Yorkshire Local authority maintained schools without a religious character must follow the locally agreed syllabus.
- Voluntary aided schools with a religious character should provide RE in accordance with the trust deed or religious designation of the school, unless parents request the locally agreed syllabus.
- North Yorkshire foundation schools and voluntary controlled schools with a religious character must follow the locally agreed syllabus, unless parents request RE in accordance with the trust deed or religious designation of the school.
As set out in their funding agreements, all academies are required to provide RE for all pupils, from Reception to Sixth Form, except those whose parents exercise their right to withdrawal.
An academy must adopt a syllabus for RE. There is no requirement for an academy to adopt a locally agreed syllabus, as long as its own RE syllabus meets the requirements for a locally agreed syllabus, set out in section 375(3) of the Education Act 1996 and paragraph (5) of Schedule 19 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. The requirements are that a 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’.
RE is not subject to nationally prescribed purpose of study, aims, attainment targets, and assessment arrangements, but it is subject to inspection. Where schools are not using an agreed syllabus, standards will be judged in relation to the expectations set out in the RE Council’s Curriculum Framework for Religious Education in England (2013).
The North Yorkshire Agreed Syllabus 2019–2024 fulfils the legal requirements set out above, and has its roots in the REC’s Framework (2013). It is written to support academies in meeting the requirements of their funding agreements. Academies are encouraged to adopt the syllabus, taking advantage of the resources and support that it offers.
A new Agreed Syllabus was introduced in September 2019. This syllabus will run until 2024. Maintained schools can access the syllabus and a range of supporting resources from www.nyeducationservices.co.uk
Log in to the site. Go to resources- School Improvement- New RE Agreed Syllabus.
Academies may purchase access to the syllabus for £100. Order through the www.nyeducationservices.co.uk website, or email SchoolImprovement.NYES@northyorks.gov.uk
Right of withdrawal
This was first granted when Religious Education was religious instruction and carried with it connotations of induction into the Christian faith. RE has been very different to this for some time. It is inclusive and wide-ranging, exploring a range of religious and non-religious worldviews. However, in the UK, parents still have the right to withdraw their children from RE on the grounds that they wish to provide their own religious education. (School Standards and Framework Act 1998 S71 (3)). This will be the parents’ responsibility. However, it is good practice to talk to parents to ensure that they understand the aims and value of RE before honouring this right. Students aged 18 or over have the right to withdraw themselves from RE.
Advice and support from our professional RE adviser, Olivia Seymour, is provided to schools on issues relating to the right of withdrawal. Please email SchoolImprovement.NYES@northyorks.gov.uk who will direct any query to the professional RE adviser.
Training and support
Subject leader network meetings are available termly for primary and secondary subject leaders and a Developing Primary RE course runs each year for teachers new to leading RE. All courses and networks can be booked through www.nyeducationservices.co.uk
North Yorkshire Guidance