Commission on Religious Education Final Report Religion and Worldviews: The way forward. A national plan for RE.
Today the long awaited final report was published with eleven recommendations many of which are to be welcomed.
I agree with the report that RE is in crisis in our schools and in many schools particularly at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 not being taught.
I believe the report is a missed opportunity because it has a main focus on changing the nature and character of Religious Education by introducing Worldviews which would inevitably dilute the religious content. (There is a place in schools for teaching about and understanding Worldviews but not in Religious Education). All pupils need through sound RE teaching a good understanding of the major World Religions of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism. If this is done well it will build on community cohesion. At the moment because of the introduction of Academies and Free Schools there is no co-ordinated approach of entitlement to RE from age 4 – 18, so pupils land up repeating some aspects and missing out together on others. This means pupils do not gain a thorough understanding of all the major religions. The allocation of time for RE in the busy, crowded curriculum is limited, to introduce Worldviews would be counter- productive and further weaken RE.
I do agree as the report recommends:
- A National Entitlement for RE
- Improved coverage of RE in Initial Teacher Training
- Improved ongoing training for teachers in schools
- Non – statutory programmes of study for RE drawn up
- Ofsted to comment on whether schools are meeting their statutory requirements for RE
- Government to look again at guidelines for right of withdrawal from RE
Association of Christian Teachers