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School Curriculum

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Questions (298)

Richard Bruton


298. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Education the guidance provided by her Department to schools outlining the way they should meet their obligation to outline their provision for children who wish to opt out of religious instruction; if it is set out explicitly in admission policy statements; and the other means that are available to a prospective parent to consider the policy in place. [53798/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Under Article 44 of the Constitution and in accordance with Section 30 of the Education Act, 1998, parents have a right to have their children opt out of religious instruction classes if they so wish. It is expected that this right will be upheld by schools on foot of a parental request.

Under the provisions of the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018, where schools provide religious instruction, they must clearly set out in their admission policies the school’s arrangements for students, where the parent or in the case of a student who has reached the age of 18 years, the student, has requested that the student attend the school without attending religious instruction in the school.

The manner in which any school ensures that the right to opt out of religion classes is upheld is a matter for the school concerned. Each individual school must determine the particular arrangements which are most appropriate in its individual circumstances having regard to local issues such as available space, supervision requirements and how the school concerned organises classes etc.

The right of parents to have their child opt out of religion classes applies in all schools regardless of the denomination or ethos of the school concerned.