Requests to withdraw a pupil from RE

Parents can choose to withdraw their children from religious education (RE) lessons. Find out what you're required to do if this happens, and how this may affect school trips to places of worship.

Last reviewed on 22 December 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 30664
  1. Parents have a right to withdraw children from RE
  2. Providing an alternative to RE lessons
  3. Trips to places of worship
  4. Withdrawing pupils from other subjects

Parents have a right to withdraw children from RE

You must grant requests from parents to withdraw their child, wholly or partly, from:

  • Receiving religious education (RE) given in the school in accordance with the school’s basic curriculum
  • Attendance at religious worship in the school (note: sixth-form pupils can choose for themselves to opt out of religious worship)

This is set out in section 71(1) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (as amended) for maintained schools. This section of the act also applies to academies, as stated in the DfE's model funding agreements:

  • Mainstream: supplemental funding agreement (paragraph 2.V)
  • Mainstream: single funding agreement (paragraph 2.49)

Academies: check your own funding agreement in case it differs from the models.

Parents don’t have to give a reason

You should also give parents