Parent Survey

Religion and philosophy a hot topic between parents and their children

A survey into attitudes among parents towards religious education has found that religious and philosophical themes are a major talking point at home between parents and their children.

  • Around 8 in 10 discuss beliefs about the origins of life and the universe (78%)
  • Around 7 in 10 discuss beliefs concerning what happens when we die (72%)
  • Around 8 in 10 discuss beliefs that affect people’s behaviour and decision making (77%)
  • Around 7 in 10 discuss issues related to religious and non-religious worldviews that appear in the media (67%)

Aside from conversations of a religious or philosophical nature, the survey found that three in five parents teach their children a religious or non-religious worldview including agnostic, atheistic, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu Dharma, and Muslim perspectives.

Around seven in ten (67%) regarded what their child learnt in RE as important, with just 15% of parents saying they didn’t see any value in teaching religious education.

School also emerged as the biggest source of information about different worldviews with seven in ten parents (69%) reporting that their child accessed information about religious and non-religious worldviews in the classroom. 65% of them also agreed with the approach taken by their child’s RE teacher.

The survey also gathered a variety of qualitative responses, with 2,000 parents being asked to provide extended answers on religious education in their child’s school.

Those who saw value in the subject praised its ability to teach values of respect and acceptance, provide children with an opportunity to explore different belief systems as well as positively impact the morality and values of children.

When asked about their concerns for the subject, many parents referred to a lack of RE specialist teachers in schools, worrying that this may give rise to ‘bias’ and a lack of opportunities to learn about other worldviews.

The most common criticism of the subject came from those with a non-religious worldview who had concerns about the importance of religion.

The survey was carried out by Culham St Gabriel’s Trust who wanted to understand how parents see their children’s religious education on the eve of the publication of the 2021 Census results that showed a decline in the number of people who wish to identify themselves with a single specific organised religion.

Parents were also asked to consider the Religion and Worldviews approach to RE. This new way of thinking about the subject reflects the recommendations in the 2018 Commission on RE report and is being developed in some schools.

Parents were mostly supportive of the approach, with an average of seven in ten parents agreeing with its four core principles, including teaching the historical and social context of religion as well as providing children with the opportunity to explore similarities and differences between worldviews.


Here's one parent, Josh, explaining the importance of an education in Religion and Worldviews. To see more promotional films please see our promotional film collection

If you would like more information on the survey or social media cards to promote the results on social media please download the resources below.

Press release


167.7 KB

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Parent Survey A4 Sheet


836.8 KB

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Policy briefing document


2.1 MB

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The following social media cards are available for you to download and use