Pupils being withdrawn from RE to avoid being taught about Islam

July 5, 2019

New research has revealed that more than two in five school leaders and Religious Education (RE) teachers have received requests for students to be withdrawn from teaching about a particular religion in RE. According to the findings from Liverpool Hope University, who surveyed 450 teachers, Islam was the dominant focus of these parental withdrawal requests.

Responding to the study, Accord Coalition Chair, the Reverend Stephen Terry, said ‘These are very worrying findings. High quality RE helps promote understanding between those of different backgrounds. To deny this to children will mean that misguided fears and suspicions rather than being dispelled will flourish unchecked. It means that the pupils who will most benefit from clear and informed teaching about a particular religion will be the very pupils who are withdrawn, and thereby disadvantaged.

‘An associated issue is that the right of parents to withdraw their children from RE in state funded schools cannot be removed under human rights law while some schools still provide RE that seeks to inculcate religious belief and is not broad or balanced. This research highlights yet another reason for the urgent reform of RE. This is why it is so important that government advances the vision set out by the 2016 to 2018 Commission on Religious Education for all pupils to receive an inclusive RE entitlement. Such action would obviate any need for a parental right of withdrawal from such teaching.’

John Hope University have said they will soon share their full findings with Accord. Accord will then add it to the free to access databank of research regarding religion and belief in schools which it maintains.

One Response to Pupils being withdrawn from RE to avoid being taught about Islam

  1. Impiety on July 21, 2019 at 11:16 am

    The obstacle for many parents with a secular view is that it is often unclear what liberties are contained within RE. They often fear that it includes indoctrination with one particular religion, rather than education of the history and practices of most religions. They also object that when children are taken e.g. to a Mosque they are made to pray on a mat, which they see as a form of indoctrination. By all means, take them to a mosque, include parents, but why do they actually need to undergo the rituals ? Much work is to be done, especially in U.K. where so many schools are linked to Church of England. The child’s interest must always outweigh the parents’, as well as religious authorities’ interests. Children from religious parents may undergo religious rituals in their homes and churches, but IMO they should never be made to undergo these at state or even private schools. Schools are not for indoctrination; they are for education/learning. It is unjust to subject a child to any organised religion through school education. Religious indoctrination ought to be removed from children’s schools. I always try to be open minded and will consider any counter arguments. I have changed my mind about various things many times in my life. My interest is in humans (especially little ones) and their inherent rights.

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