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NAHT Northern Ireland

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NAHT Northern Ireland represents principals and vice-principals in around two-thirds of 1,150 schools in Northern Ireland. NAHT Northern Ireland provide advice, training and support for its members on a range of issues faced by senior leaders in schools. Along with our colleagues in England and Wales, we are there to defend and extend the rights of school leaders.  

NAHT NI is democratic and member-led, and supported by its Belfast-based team of staff alongside their colleagues based in both Wales and England.

NAHT Northern Ireland
Carnmoney House
Edgewater Office Park


02890 776633 

Dealing with requests to withdraw from religious education

You may have been approached by a parent or carer who does not want their child to take part in religious education lessons, and they ask you to withdraw them from this subject.

This can be a tricky issue to deal with, so NAHT has collaborated with the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) to produce some advice and guidance on how to deal with these requests.

In its 2018 primary school survey, NATRE found that almost 16% of the schools surveyed said they had some parents/carers asking to withdraw their child from religious education. While removing their children remains a right for parents, the law wasn't designed for the way some are using it.

This relatively short (nine-page) guide, produced by NATRE and NAHT, does the following: 

  • Clarifies the law
  • Offers suggestions for dealing with specific withdrawal scenarios
  • Provides tips for dealing with parental requests,
  • Looks at case studies of two schools
  • Includes a really helpful Q&A section 

In short, it includes everything you need to know to master this area of management and leadership activity effectively.

The Department for Education recognises and recommends this document.

First published 26 August 2020

Recent consultations and other documents

NITC joint letter to management side

The five teacher unions in Northern Ireland, including NAHT(NI), wrote to the employers seeking additional payment to school leaders and teaching staff who worked significant additional hours during summer 2021 in order to ensure this work was recognised.


Consultation on deferring school starting age: NAHT(NI) draft response

We are concerned at the advancement of this proposal as the evidential basis for this consultation is highly limited. We contend that the current proposal should be retracted. The proposal fails to reflect the experience of pupils, school leaders, parents and the whole school community. Given the significance of this potential policy change, it is essential that the perspectives of all stakeholders are considered. We know that members are operating in a business-critical environment and will have limited or no time to engage with consultation exercises, however, we encourage members to consider responding to this important consultation and copy our response to complete your individual response.


Previous consultation responses and statements

First published 08 April 2020