Religious Education

Go to: Religious Education in Church of England schools: A Statement of Entitlement

Go to: Which Syllabus for Religious Education should my school use?

Go to: Understanding Christianity

Go to: Parental right of withdrawal

Go to: RE Subject Leadership

General Information

  • Religious education (RE) is part of the basic curriculum entitlement for all registered pupils in all schools, including sixth form.
  • In Church schools, which are open to pupils of all religious traditions and those of no religious background, RE has a central place within a distinctive curriculum and is seen as a core subject. 
  • RE is not the same as religious instruction – it does not seek to impose any one set of beliefs or doctrine.
  • RE is about developing a religious and theological literacy so that pupils will be able to engage with some of the big questions of meaning and purpose in life and develop an understanding of what followers of a religion believe and how those beliefs shape the lives of individuals, communities and wider society.
  • All schools are required to teach about Christianity, and in Church schools this will be at least 2/3 of the RE curriculum.

A Satement of Entitlement

Which Syllabus for Religious Education should my school use?

  • Voluntary controlled and foundation schools must comply with their Local Authority’s Locally Agreed Syllabus for RE
  • In a Voluntary Aided Church of England school and former VA schools, governors are ultimately responsible for the subject and they must ensure that their Religious Education syllabus and provision is in accordance with "the rites, practices and beliefs of the Church of England" and we strongly recommend that they are based on this Diocesan syllabus.
  • The Diocesan Syllabus for RE (VA schools) is avaliable here. (You will need your password to access this).

Understanding Christianity

  • This is a major new resource for teaching about Christianity, developed by Church of England Education Office and RE Today Services. 
  • Understanding Christianity forms a central part of the Diocesan Syllabus for RE.
  • Further information about Understanding Christianity can be found here.
  • The full resource is only available through accredited training – to see if training is available and book places please visit Training and Events page.
  • Teaching yr7 - Please contact Diane Norton (Schools Adviser  - RE at [at] for details of the Transition unit available to assist Yr7 teachers create a 'level playing field' where some feeder schools have taught RE using the Understanding Christianity materials and others which have not. This resource is free to those schools that have bought into the Enhanced Service Plan (ESP)

Parental right of withdrawal

  • Parents (or pupils themselves if they are aged 18 or over) have the right to request that the pupil be withdrawn from all or part of the RE provided.
  • There is no requirement to provide reasons for the request but schools will appreciate the opportunity to discuss the RE curriculum and arrangements for the withdrawal with parents.
  • The school may also wish to review such a request each year, in discussion with the parents.
  • The right of withdrawal does not extend to other areas of the curriculum when, as may happen on occasion, spontaneous questions on religious matters are raised by pupils or there are issues related to religion that arise in other subjects such as history or citizenship.

RE Subject Leadership 

If you are a new RE subject leader do get in touch with [at] (Diane Norton), RE Adviser or your named adviser and we will discuss how we might assist with developing RE in your school.

For Primary - Topics you may want to discuss (not exhaustive):

  • The legal position and RE
  • Using the Diocesan or Locally Agreed Syllabi
  • Long and medium term planning - we have a number of exemplars to share with schools that have boughtinto the Enhanced Service Plan (ESP)
  • How to evidence good RE, e.g. the use of Big Books
  • Assessment of RE
  • Tracking progress in RE
  • Quality assurance of your school's RE
  • Staff training and building staff confidence to teach excellent RE
  • Implementing the Understanding Christianity resource
  • The RE Matters Networking sessions

For secondary - Topics you may want to discuss (not exhaustive):

  • The legal position and RE
  • Yr7 Transition
  • KS3 RE - Using the Diocesan or Locally Agreed Syllabi
  • Planning Programmes of Learning
  • KS4 RE - Raising standards at GCSE
  • KS5 RE - Raising standards at A level
  • Planning core RE
  • Quality assurance in your RE dept
  • Staff training and building staff confidence to teach excellent RE
  • Implementing the Understanding Christianity resource
  • The RE Matters Networking sessions

We have a comprehensive range of training and support. Every school also has a named adviser who is able to offer guidance and support if your school subscribed to the Enhanced Service Plan. In addition we have a specialist RE adviser, Diane Norton, who can provide support, coaching and training for schools and RE leads.

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