Letter About a Child's Religion Related Problems
Sometimes parents of children who are religious can face problems when a child attends a school that provides a different religious, or a secular, education. The nature of these problems may vary wildly from individual to individual: Muslim children wearing a head scarf, for example, may require permission to do so, or children who have a fast day due to their religious observances may need their school to provide specific help with that obligation on a particular day. Some religious children may need a room to engage in prayer at certain times of the day. There are other needs, too, that parents may want to contact a school about to discuss fitting their child's religious needs in with the wider ethos of the school.
School PoliciesThere are separate articles within this website looking at contacting a school to discuss a child's non attendance of assembly for religious reasons or his or her absence from school for religious reasons. School policies on these issues as well as other requests such as those outlined above will vary from school to school. Some may take the view that parents knew about the school's policies on religion, (or, if parents are objecting to their child's participation in certain religious practices, the school's status as a faith school) before their child joined the school, and that they should not therefore take issue with specific religious problems after a child has started learning at the school. On the whole, however, schools are willing to be flexible about fulfilling children's individual needs and, if they have available ability and the resources to do so, will help parents to solve problems that are arising surrounding religious issues for a child attending school.
It is, however, important to address these issues in the correct way since schools are not obliged to bend rules or provide extra help for individual students. This very much depends on what a parent is asking of a school - easy to implement tasks will obviously be easier to address than others. A child wearing a headscarf, if this does not run counter to uniform policy, will usually be easy for schools to adapt to, whereas the provision of a supervised room for prayer may be less easy if a school has limited room or a lack of spare teaching staff.
The letter format laid out below shows a good way to approach a school to ask permission for a child to wear a headscarf for religious reasons - it can be adapted for letters regarding alternative religious concerns.
The Head Teacher
The School House
5 January 2008
Dear Head Teacher
My daughter, Ruth Ingledwee, is in form 8B, Mr. Ledle's form. I'm writing to you because Ruth has recently been getting more observant of our family religion, Islam. Whilst I do not wear a headscarf, Ruth is now keen to do so as she feels that is part of her religious duty. Ruth says that there are some other children in the school who already wear headscarfs, so I am hoping you will understand her wish to do so and be able to grant permission. She will obviously wear the headscarf as part of her school uniform, and I will ensure that we purchase a navy headscarf for wear at school that matches the rest of the uniform so her headscarf does not become a major point of difference.
I hope this request doesn't bring up too many difficulties, and am happy to discuss the issue with you if you think that would be helpful. I hope you understand and allow Ruth to wear the headscarf. If you want to talk this through anymore, you can contact me, Mother, on 0131 2343 9049 or 0723422342, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With thanks for your time and best wishes
Mr and Mrs Ingledwee, mother and father of Ruth