Religious Education - Policy and Practice


RE Policy in CfE Context

RE must be taught by law in schools. Restated in the Education Act 1980.


  • introduced 2011.
  • doesn't talk about issues of Religious Observance or role of chaplains in R.O. and RE.
  • different from Catholic school policy that recognises the role of the wider parish.


Schools Take on Policy:

  • Non-Denominational:
    • policy not clear on how RE should be taught or what happens if you don't teach it. So some schools not teaching RE or teaching it through proxies i.e. NCCT.
  • Catholic Schools:
    • RE tends to be taught strictly inline with that their policy says (Matemba, 2011).
1 of 5

Parental Right to Withdraw

  • concious clause embedded in policy.
    • means parents can withdraw children from RE if it conflicts with their philosophical or religious positions.
  • not many withdraw because they are not aware that they can.
  • can withdraw in Catholic schools too, although assumption is they have opted-in by chosing to go to Catholic school.
  • nothing in policy says if teachers can or can't withdraw from teaching RE.
    • teachers CANT withdraw in Catholic schools.



2 of 5

Teaching Other World Religions

  • Non-Denominational:
    • inclusive multi-faith approach is approved.
    • aknowledge religious diversity, teaches about different religions and independent views on religion.
    • conform to policy and teach RE from an inclusive and critical approach.


  • Catholic Schools:
    • a faith based approach rather than a critical one.
    • other religions are aknowledged but taken from a Catholic point of view.
3 of 5

Teaching Christianity

  • Christianity historically part of Schotland's past so therefore this is meant to be the first/main religion taught.
  • Policy states that, in Scotland, it is mandatory to teach Christianity.
  • In practice (going against policy):
    • in non-denominational schools, Christianity is not given any special status in RE (Matemba, 2011).
    • there has been a few cases where Christianity has not been taught at all (rare though).
4 of 5

Time Allocation

  • Non-Denominational:
    • policy does not indicate a specific time allocation for RE.
    • RE is mandatory but no set time therefore little time is spent on it.
    • In secondary schools, average seems to be about 1 hour per week on RE.


  • Catholic Schools:
    • policy does state a time allocation.
    • 2.5 hours on RE in primary school.
    • 2 hours on RE in secondary school.
    • Also, outside of RE times, there is still some teaching and relation to aspects of religion throughout the day and in other lessons.
5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar Primary Teaching resources:

See all Primary Teaching resources »See all Educational Policy and Practice resources »