Ealing Learning Partnership

RE statutory requirements

The national curriculum states the legal requirement that:

Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based, and which promotes the spiritual.

The RE curriculum is determined by the local Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE), which is responsible for producing the locally agreed syllabus for RE.

In brief, legislation requires that:

  • In maintained community, foundation or voluntary schools without a religious character, RE is taught in accordance with the local Agreed Syllabus
  • Academies and free schools must teach RE within 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
  • For foundation and voluntary controlled schools with a religious character, RE must be taught according to the Agreed Syllabus unless, parents request RE in accordance with the trust deed of the school; and
  • In voluntary aided schools RE must be taught in accordance with the trust deed.

RE exclusions

RE must be included in the curriculum for all registered pupils, including all pupils in reception classes and sixth form, but excluding:

  • pupils in nursery schools or nursery classes in primary schools
  • Any person aged nineteen or above for whom further education is being provided at school; and
  • Any person over compulsory school age who is receiving part-time education.

Further information

RE and collective worship in academies and free schools (GOV.UK)

Religious education in local-authority-maintained schools (GOV.UK)

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Last updated: 19 Sep 2023