Parental Right to withdraw their child from parts of the Curriculum
The Pochin School delivers a carefully constructed curriculum to all pupils. The curriculum is designed to equip pupils with knowledge, skills and understanding through high academic expectation and achievement as well as through appropriate social, moral, spiritual and cultural development.
The curriculum is divided into four parts:
– The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum
The early years foundation stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of your child from birth to 5 years old. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.
– The National Curriculum
What subjects must Academies teach?
The government has stated that: “Academies are required to have a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.” While Academies are not required to follow the National Curriculum, they are required to ensure that their curriculum: includes English, Maths and Science; includes religious education and sex and relationship education.
– Religious Provision
All state schools are also required to make provision for a daily act of collective worship and must teach religious education (RE) to pupils at every key stage. The school uses the Leicestershire Agreed Syllabus for RE by SACRE.
– Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education
All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice.
Do parents have a parental right to withdraw their child from any subject?
Parents do not have the right to withdraw their child from any aspect of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum or any part of any subject which forms the National Curriculum. These curriculum aspects are the legal entitlement of every child. This includes biological aspects of animal growth and reproduction that are essential elements of National Curriculum Science.
Parental right to withdrawal
Parents do have the right to withdraw their child from any aspect of Religious Provision or the Sex and Relationships aspect of Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education, as detailed below:
Parents have the right to choose whether or not to withdraw their child from RE without influence from the school. The Head of School will always seek to discuss this decision with parents, with a view to sharing the educational objectives and content of the RE syllabus. In this way, parents can make an informed decision. Where parents have requested that their child is withdrawn, their right must be respected.
- If pupils are withdrawn from RE, schools have a duty to supervise them, though not to provide additional teaching. For example, a parent cannot ask for extra English or Maths work to be given to their child. No extra marking should take place or costs incurred. A pupil may be required to work in another area of the school, such as another classroom. Pupils will usually remain on school premises.
- Whilst parents or carers have a right to withdraw children from RE, they should note that children may also encounter religions and beliefs and wider aspects of faith in other areas of the curriculum from which there is no right of withdrawal.
- On occasion, spontaneous questions about religious matters are raised by pupils or issues related to religion arise in other curriculum subjects such as history or citizenship (PSHE). For example, schools promote community cohesion and help pupils to understand ideas about identity and diversity, feelings and emotions within both religious and non-religious contexts.
The parental right to withdraw a child from attending collective worship is freely exercisable and school will approve any such request. Parents are not obliged to state their reasons for seeking withdrawal.
The right of withdrawal from collective worship would normally be exercised through the physical
withdrawal of the pupil from the place where the act of worship is taking place. Indeed, the school could insist that this is the way the right is to be implemented. If, however, both the parent and the school agree that the pupil should be allowed to remain physically present during the collective worship but not take part in it, nothing in the law prevents this.
To avoid misunderstanding, the head teacher will seek to establish with any parent wanting to exercise the right of withdrawal:
- the elements of worship in which the parent would object to the child taking part;
- the practical implications of withdrawal; and
- whether the parent will require any advanced notice of such worship, and, if so, how much.
Sex and Relationships aspects of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education
Parents are free to withdraw their children from Sex and Relationships aspects of the PSHE curriculum if they wish to do so. The only exceptions to this are the biological aspects of animal growth and reproduction that are essential elements of National Curriculum Science.
The Head of School will always seek to discuss this decision with parents, with a view to sharing the educational objectives and content of the Sex and Relationships syllabus. In this way, parents can make an informed decision. Where parents have requested that their child is withdrawn, their right must be respected, and where Sex and Relationships Education is integrated in the curriculum, the school will need to discuss the arrangements with the parents to explore how the child’s withdrawal can be best accommodated. If pupils are withdrawn from these aspects of PSHE, the school has a duty to supervise them, though not to provide additional teaching or to incur extra cost. Pupils will usually remain on school premises.
Managing the Right of Withdrawal
If pupils are withdrawn from RE, collective worship or parts of PSHE, schools have a duty to supervise them, though not to provide additional teaching or to incur extra cost. Pupils will usually remain on school premises where it is feasible and appropriate.
Where a request for withdrawal is made, the school must comply and excuse the pupil until the request is rescinded.
(Section 71(3), School Standards and Framework Act 1998).