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Campaign for inclusion of Religious Education in the E-Bacc

Campaign for inclusion of Religious Education in the E-Bacc

Categories: Latest News

Monday July 11 2011

  The BBC draws attention to a letter submitted by faith-based organizations to the Daily Telegraph calling upon the Government to recognise the value of teaching Religious Education in schools and urging the Department for Education to ensure that RE classes are included in the English Baccalaureate.

The letter, as printed in the Daily Telegraph is as follows:

“SIR – We wish to endorse the campaign to have religious education (RE) included in the English Baccalaureate.

We are gravely concerned about the negative impact current Government policies are having on RE in schools and colleges in our country. The distinctive character of RE in Britain has an international reputation of which we are rightly proud. RE makes an important contribution to strong communities, harmony and mutual respect.

However, changes to the role and capacity of local authorities, coupled with the extension of the academies programme, are in danger of undermining the nature and quality of RE. They are also having a serious impact on the ability of the grassroot councils for RE (Sacres) to undertake their statutory role in sustaining the subject. Also, recent policy initiatives in relation to GCSE examinations are already leading to a deterioration in the provision for RE in many secondary schools.

The Prime Minister must ask the Secretary of State to work with the RE community to develop a clear strategy for the future development of the subject. Failure to work with faith communities, along with their partner academic and professional associations, would represent a serious flaw in the Big Society project.

Michael Heaney
President, Churches Together in England
Martyn Atkins
General Secretary Methodist Church
Roberta Rominger
General Secretary of the United Reformed Church
Jamie Cresswell
Chair, Network of Buddhist Organisations
Bharti Tailor
Secretary General, Hindu Forum of Britain
Harshad Sanghrajka
Director, Institute of Jainology
Farooq Murad
Secretary Gen, Muslim Council of Britain
Indarjit Singh
Director, Network of Sikh Organisations
Malcolm Deboo
President, Zoroastrian Trust Funds for Europe”

The Daily Mail last month published an article on the findings of a survey by the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) which shows that a quarter of the state-funded schools featured in the NATRE study were not teaching RE to pupils aged from 14 to 16.

Stephen Lloyd MP
sponsored an early day motion in January this year calling upon the Government “to recognise the importance and relevance of religious education by including it as a core subject in the English Baccalaureate”.

The EDM states:

“That this House notes the recent publication of league tables of school performance measuring the proportion of pupils obtaining the English Baccalaureate; further notes that the English Baccalaureate is awarded to pupils who gain GCSEs at Grade C or above in English, mathematics, science, a foreign language and a humanities subject; further notes with concern that this list of approved subjects does not include religious education; recognises that religious education is an academically rigorous subject with increasing popularity among pupils; further recognises that the rise of religious extremism around the world and in the UK means that a good understanding of all religions is vital to a well-rounded education; further notes that with the increasing emphasis on the English Baccalaureate as the primary qualification for 16-year-olds, schools are more likely to focus on the core subjects which make it up; and therefore calls on the Government to recognise the importance and relevance of religious education by including it as a core subject in the English Baccalaureate.”

If your MP is not among the signatories to the motion, contact him/her today and ask them to support the campaign for the inclusion RE classes in the E-Bacc.

You can find contact details for your MP on this link.


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