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Faith Schools

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether teachers can be dismissed for conduct incompatible with the tenets of the religious denomination specified in relation to voluntary-aided schools with a religious character. (290664)

Voluntary-aided schools with a religious character do have the ability to have regard to the conduct of a teacher which is incompatible with the tenets of the religion of the school when considering the termination of employment of any teacher.

I firmly believe and trust in the professionalism of our head teachers and in the skill and abilities of governing bodies across the country to ensure that they conduct the employment process fairly and in line with relevant legislation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what assessment he has made of whether religious education in voluntary-aided schools with a religious character can be given in accordance with the tenets of the religion or the religious denomination specified in relation to the school by teachers who are not of that religion;

(2) what assessment he has made of whether religious education in voluntary-aided schools with a religious character can be given by teachers who do not share the same faith as the religion or the religious denomination specified in relation to the school. [290668] (290667)

The choice of who delivers religious education (and any other subject) in voluntary aided schools is a matter for local determination. Head teachers and governing bodies in voluntary aided schools will judge the appropriateness or otherwise of individuals who teach, or are seeking an appointment to teach, religious education in their schools. The law maintains that preference may be given to those of the faith but it is not implicit that only those of the faith may teach RE.