Withdrawal survey – share your experience

NATRE has been taking a leading role in calling for the government to address teachers' concerns about the selective use of withdrawal from RE. We were glad to work with ATL on a motion that was proposed and passed at their spring conference.

A further survey has been launched to gather more data on this phenomenon. Liverpool Hope University are inviting RE teachers and school leaders to share their experiences.

This is following the recent article from Paul Smalley in The Conversation which highlights the findings from an earlier survey of Heads and RE leaders from across England, suggesting that as many as 4 in 10 have experienced parents ask to withdraw their child selectively from the teaching of one religion. Many participants commented in particular on racist and Islamophobic motivations, raising concerns about the misuse of the parental right of withdrawal.

Another unexpected finding was that some 7% of requests for withdrawal were made so that children could access other curriculum subjects or SEN support. School and RE leaders were asked whether they saw a continued need for the right of withdrawal, with 2/3 in favour of abolishing this idiosyncrasy in RE's legal status, that nearly 1 in 4 schools have experienced requests from parents to opt out selectively from parts of RE. The issue was picked up as the subject of BBC Asian Network's Big Debate and has become a campaign priority for the ATL union.

Please go to www.hope.ac.uk/resurvey to complete and share your experience.

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