There is a statutory requirement to provide religious education and religious observance in schools. RME deals with the development of the person in relation to self-awareness, relationships with others, and the understanding of different beliefs, values and practices. As such, it makes an important contribution to the development of pupils in preparation for adult life.
Religious education involves understanding the beliefs, values and practices of world religions. Pupils are encouraged to develop understanding of, and respect for, people of different faiths and people who adopt a non-religious stance for living.
Moral education is the process whereby a person develops responsible attitudes towards others and the skill of moral judgement about what is right and wrong. Pupils will learn to appreciate common values such as honesty, liberty, justice, fairness and respect for others. However, they will not be told what to think: RME aims to develop the thinking skills that will enable the individual to make up their own minds on religious and moral issues.
Religious observance aims to promote both the pupils’ spiritual development and the ethos of the school through the celebration of shared values. It also provides the opportunity for individual reflection on spiritual and moral concerns.
Parents have the statutory right to withdraw their children from religious observance if they wish.