Curriculum from Religious Education Council offers blueprint for all schools to follow

October 23, 2013

The Accord Coalition has welcomed a new curriculum and report into the provision of RE published today by the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, but is disappointed that it stops short of calling for RE to be made part of a compulsory national curriculum, thereby guaranteeing pupils receive the benefit of a broad-based syllabus and understand all the major belief systems in Britain today.

The Accord Chair, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, said: ‘Unless this happens, RE will always suffer, with community schools varying in what they cover according to the regional variations of the local SACRE, and faith schools free to teach one faith only to the exclusion of all others. RE needs to change from a Cinderella subject and be recognised for its importance both as a matter of general knowledge and as an aid to social cohesion as children and young people emerge into a diverse society.

‘We call on the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, to do lasting good by adding RE to the National Curriculum. The REC’s curriculum offers a widely accepted and endorsed template for the Government to work from.’

The Accord Coalition has repeatedly called for RE to be added to a nationally prescribed curriculum for all state funded schools, to ensure children and young people receive an entitlement to broad and balanced education about the range of beliefs in society. The Government excluded RE from its revised National Curriculum and the REC’s curriculum is designed to parallel with it to help ensure greater coherence in the provision of the subject and ensure pupils are taught about essential knowledge.

Publication of the REC’s subject review follows on from Ofsted’s triennial report in RE, which was released on October 6th. It concluded that RE was suffering from low standards, weak teaching, gaps in teacher training and reduced support by local authorities. Among Ofsted’s recommendations included that the Department for Education should review RE’s statutory arrangements.

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