Nearly all UK independent schools have religious education of some kind on the curriculum, with the exception of most sixth-form and tutorial colleges. This often includes a study of world religions so children develop an idea of what inspires people of different faiths, and learn about their practices, customs, laws, conventions and traditions.

Provisions for religious instruction and worship vary greatly. A large number of schools with Church of England foundations follow, to varying degrees, Protestant/Anglican practice. Some have a prayer and perhaps a hymn at assembly and require occasional attendance at chapel or at Christmas services; others make a certain amount of worship compulsory. Candidates are often prepared for Confirmation.

Methodist, Quaker, Presbyterian and Jewish schools tend to have a clearly defined policy and give considerable attention to religious worship and instruction.

The Roman Catholic schools, administered by the Benedictines, the Christian Brothers and by various other Orders, have very clear and comprehensive policies to educate and nurture children in the faith so that they become devout and mature Catholics. There is considerable stress on religious instruction and on worship according to the liturgy of the Church − regular attendance at Mass and Holidays of Obligation, attendance at prayers etc.

In an overwhelmingly secular adult society, in which religious observance plays a very small part, many people still think that it is not a bad thing for their children to be exposed to the ethos which goes with religious doctrine and set of beliefs.