The law requires that schools in England and wales provide Christian guiding where there is no express religious requirement on the school. The UK has become increasingly multi-faith with tens of religions in the country, especially among immigrant communities from the larger Asia, where former colonies were largely non-Christian. Understandably, many parents are concerned on the question of their children’s welcoming and rights in an education setting with a largely Christian setting. There are significant differences in the conduct of religious matters in state funded schools, and private schools
What does it say on State funded schools?
- Admissions to these schools is open for all and cannot discriminate on religious grounds
- These schools cannot have a religious character, and the curriculum of Religious Education is set every years and overseen by the local Agreed Syllabus Conference (ASC) and supervised by the Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE). The school must follow the national curriculum which includes scientific theories on evolution. Sex and relationships education should also be included on HIV/AIDS and other STIs.
- Collective worship is broadly of Christian character but SACRE can opt to have it multi-faith or switch to another religious leaning
Voluntary controlled ‘faith’ schools
- Admission to these schools is open for all and non-discriminatory although there are cases of authorities that discriminate
- These schools are legally registered with a religious character. The RE curriculum follows ASC guidelines but a parent can request that a child be taught religious education according to the school’s deeds of faith. The schools are mandated to follow the national curriculum including scientific theories in evolution. Sex and relationships education should also be included on HIV/AIDS and other STIs.
- Collective worship is done in line with tenets of the school’s dominant faith
Voluntary Aided ‘faith’ schools
- Admission to these schools is determined by the school’s governors. Discrimination on religious grounds is allowed if the school is oversubscribed
- These schools are legally registered with a religious character. The RE curriculum is set by the school’s governors unless a parent requests for non-confessional RE as set by the ASC. These schools must follow the national curriculum including evolution. Sex and relationships education should also be included on HIV/AIDS and other STIs.
- Collective worship in these schools must be in accordance with the school’s religious tenets and practices.
What about private schools?
There are three types of private schools;
- Foundation ‘faith’ schools
- ‘Faith’ academies
- Private ‘faith’ schools
On matters of religion, these schools are more flexible in;
- Discriminate on religious grounds
- Hold collective worship in accordance to the school’s dominate religion
But these schools must teach the national curriculum including evolution theory, sexual and relationships education on STIs including HIV/AIDS.