The Minister for Education has reiterated that students cannot be obliged to participate in religious ceremonies or instruction in schools if their parents do not wish them to.

Richard Bruton was commenting after a policy document belonging to one school was highlighted on social media over the past week.

The document, which detailed the school's policy on the wearing of the hijab, states that all students are "expected to participate fully in liturgies".

Liturgies are Christian religious ceremonies such as mass and prayers.

The minister said the Constitution was very clear, that any parent was entitled to have their child not participate in any religious provision in school.

He said schools had to respect this, and make alternative provision.

The school in question, Coláiste Bríde in Clondalkin, has told RTÉ News that it will remove the phrase from its policy.

The school said no child was ever obliged to attend any religious ceremony, and the wording in question did not reflect this reality.

The school principal said the school was always happy to accommodate parents' wishes.

She said its policy on the wearing of the hijab had been drawn up in consultation with both Muslim students and parents.

The policy supports the wearing of the hijab in school and sets out policies that incorporate the scarf into the school uniform.

The school said it was proud to be an inclusive school, very proud of all of its students, and especially proud of two recent head girls who are both Muslims. 

"We're all learning", the principal added.