§ Mr. Shersby
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received from members of the Plymouth Brethren concerning the rights of parents to withdraw their children from school classes under the provisions of article 2 of the first protocol to the European convention on human rights; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
I have received many representations from members of the Brethren that they should have a right to withdraw their children from elements of the secular curriculum in maintained schools to which they have religious objections. Article 2 of the first protocol to the European convention on human rights does not give parents this right. My right hon. Friend and I have decided, as a matter of policy, that we will not allow any group of parents the right to withdraw their children from the secular curriculum in maintained schools on grounds of religion or conscience. But they remain free to make alternative educational arrangements.