Religious education (RE) in schools celebrates the diversity of religious and human experience. It encourages pupils to:
- learn about the different religions represented in Great Britain, their beliefs, teachings and values
- reflect on challenging questions about the meaning and purpose of life.
It is not the place of RE to nurture pupils into a particular religious standpoint, still less into a system of belief that they will be required to accept. The task of nurturing a particular faith is that of the home and/or the faith community who wish to do so. Schools are, however, required to promote the spiritual and moral development of pupils and to support them as they become adult members of society.
RE is not part of the National Curriculum. Instead, it is locally decided on by a Standard Advisory Council for RE (SACRE) as a component of the basic curriculum. It is taught alongside the National Curriculum in all maintained schools, including those in the sixth form, except to those withdrawn by their parents. This requirement does not apply to nursery classes in maintained schools..
Other than voluntary-aided schools with a religious character, it must be taught according to a locally agreed syllabus.