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Last reviewed on 16 September 2021
Ref: 9774
School types: All · School phases: All

Find out which subjects parents can withdraw their children from and how these rules apply to maintained schools, academies and independent schools. Plus, get advice on disapplying pupils from the National Curriculum.

Withdrawal is only a right in certain subjects

Maintained schools

You must follow the National Curriculum. The following table shows which subjects parents have the automatic right to withdraw their child from:

Subject Automatic right to withdraw child?
Religious education (RE) Yes
Relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education From some aspects – see below 
English No
Mathematics No
Science No
Art and design No
Citizenship No
Computing No
Design and technology No
Languages No
Geography No
History No
Music No
Physical education (PE), including swimming at either KS1 or KS2 No

Relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education

Parents can withdraw their children from sex education, apart from the aspects covered by the science curriculum.

They can't withdraw their children from relationships or health education. 

Find out more about parents' right to withdraw their children from relationships and health education (primary) and relationships and sex education (secondary)


Swimming in KS1/KS2 (as it's part of the National Curriculum) – get more detail on your requirements for swimming here Off-site PE activities arranged by

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