Parental Rights and Law

Rights of Parents regarding the Education of their Children

(including specific provision relating to SRE & RE)

  1. Every parent has the legal right to educate their child(ren) “in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions”The primary law is contained in the following Article of the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950 (following the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1948) and incorporated into English Law by the Human Rights Act 1998Protocol 1 Article 2 (bold)      ARTICLE 2No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions
  1. Freedom of ReligionHuman Rights Act 1998   ARTICLE 9 FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, CONSCIENCE AND RELIGION
    1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
    2. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
  1. Protection of ReligionEquality Act 2010This lists certain “protected characteristics” that include:Religion or Belief
    1. Religion means any religion and a reference to religion includes a reference to a lack of religion.
    2. Belief means any religious or philosophical belief and a reference to belief includes a reference to a lack of belief
  1. Right to withdraw child(ren) from sex educationS 405 Education Act 1996 Exemption from sex education.If the parent of any pupil in attendance at a maintained school requests that he may be wholly or partly excused from receiving sex education at the school, the pupil shall, except so far as such education is comprised in the National Curriculum, be so excused accordingly until the request is withdrawn
  1. Right to withdraw child(ren) from religious education (RE)School Standards and Framework Act 1998:
    1. If the parent of a pupil at a community, foundation or voluntary school requests that he may be wholly or partly excused-
      1. from receiving religious education given in the school in accordance with the school's basic curriculum,
      2.  from attendance at religious worship in the school, or
      3. both from receiving such education and from such attendance, the pupil shall be so excused until the request is withdrawn

    (This right has existed since the 1944 Education Act. It is intended as a “conscience clause” and not a general opt out.)

Parentpower Support can assist parents in the exercise of their legal rights. Email for tailored advice and support. Please include the date of birth of your child(ren) and the school they attend.