Religious education

Religious education (RE) is a statutory requirement for all schools but it is not part of the national curriculum.

The agreed syllabus for RE in Northamptonshire is called 'Growing Together' and is our responsibility. To request a copy, email [email protected].

An updated syllabus will be available in 2024/5. The current syllabus is under review.


The overall aims of religious education are to enable learners to become:

  • successful learners who enjoy learning, make progress and achieve
  • confident individuals who can live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives
  • responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society

Pupils work towards:

  • Attainment target 1: Learning about religion and belief
  • Attainment target 2: Learning from religion and belief

Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education (SACRE)

Northamptonshire SACRE advises on the agreed syllabus and RE generally within schools in the county.

To offer Northamptonshire local authority high-quality, informed advice about the provision of religious education and collective worship in schools​Mission statement


In undertaking its statutory functions the Northamptonshire SACRE will:

  • value and promote cultural diversity and religious, social and racial harmony
  • respect and value the beliefs, views and opinions of individual members
  • establish effective, sensitive, respectful and positive partnerships


Northamptonshire SACRE aims to:

  • promote a positive understanding of religious education and the valuable contribution that it can make to young people’s education and personal development
  • promote high-quality religious education in Northamptonshire schools, encouraging schools to see the value of the subject as part of the education young people receive
  • recognise and celebrate the high-quality provision of religious education and disseminate good practice
  • help teachers raise standards in religious education by supporting and promoting training for schools and sharing good practice
  • promote effective teaching and learning in religious education which allows pupils to explore what religious belief involves, promotes enquiry, independent thinking, discussion, collaboration, creativity and reflective thinking and enables pupils to develop positive values and beliefs by which to live their lives
  • help schools to improve the quality of collective worship in schools so that it makes an effective contribution to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social, cultural and physical development
  • contribute towards community cohesion by ensuring that local faith communities, schools and the local authority come together to share the common aim of working towards a society which values the individual and the diversity of beliefs; encourages empathy, sensitivity and respect; and which promotes a sense of belonging to local, national and global communities
  • advise the local authority of its statutory duties to effectively support the work of SACRE

SACRE also aims to monitor and evaluate:

  • training and support given to schools
  • standards in RE in Northamptonshire schools
  • effectiveness of the agreed syllabus
  • effectiveness of the Northamptonshire SACRE

Religious education resources

Collective worship

There is a legal requirement for all those in school to provide a daily act of collective worship. The form that this takes will depend upon each school.

Assembly, worship and religious education contribute to the breadth and balance of these aspects of the curriculum. For example, school worship and religious education provide opportunities for exploring the spiritual dimension, whilst assembly is an appropriate situation in which to develop moral issues.

It is important that the relationship between religious education, assembly and worship is understood by teachers and pupils.

A child can be withdrawn from all or part of RE or collective worship. It is a legal requirement that the right of withdrawal should be mentioned in the school prospectus.

A parent may wish to exercise the right to withdraw their child from all or part of RE. In this case, the school might wish to try to discuss the matter with the parents to:

  • make sure that their request is based on a clear understanding of what RE involves
  • make practical arrangements for the supervision of the pupil

If parents still want the pupil to be withdrawn, they can freely exercise this right. Parents are not obliged to give reasons and the school is responsible for supervising the pupil.

Teachers similarly may exercise the right of withdrawal, but in such a case, schools must ensure that provision is made for all pupils to receive the RE that is their entitlement.

Last updated 24 January 2024