Thursday, 12 May 2022
Department of Education and Skills
123. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she will ensure that schools schedule any time that is allocated to subjects in religious instruction to be the first subject or the last subject of the school day in order that pupils not attending such classes do not have to be present; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23806/22]
The Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 contains a provision which requires that school enrolment policies must include details of the school's arrangements for any students who do not wish to attend religious instruction. This is an important measure to help ensure transparency from the outset as to how a school will uphold the rights of parents in this regard.
Section 30 of the 1998 Act provides that a child is not required to attend instruction in any subject that is contrary to the conscience of the parent, and also applies to students over the age of 18. Where a request is received not to attend religious instruction, 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.