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RE may be turning a corner

REC Blog

What a time this is proving for RE! Three weeks ago we had the publication of the Ofsted report on RE, RE: realising the potential and a huge amount of coverage in the media. This past week has seen the launch of the long-awaited report of the RE Council Review of RE in Parliament. Again there has been much media coverage, some of it wildly sensational and inaccurate, but some good. RE is certainly in the news – I have done 16 radio interviews this week!

The report contains a foreword signed by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, which welcomes a new national Curriculum Framework for RE to complement the new National Curriculum. The NCFRE outlines the purpose of RE, its aims and its breadth. It contains programmes of study for three key stages as well as guidance on RE in the Early years and beyond 14.

There are six recommendations in section two of the report:

  1. More effective monitoring of RE
  2. Consider re-examining the current ‘settlement’ for RE which dates from 1944
  3. Deal with problems in the exam system
  4. Improve arrangements for teacher training and professional development with regional training hubs
  5. Co-ordinate structures across the RE community to promote greater efficiency and effectiveness
  6. Develop new assessment arrangements for RE

You will find full details of the report here, and hard copies are available as well. I repeat the details of the five dissemination events around the country – London 5 November, York 6 November, Oxford 19 November, Liverpool 21 November and Bristol 28 November, all beginning at 5.30 pm. These are free and open to all on a first come, first served basis.

I should like to thank everybody who has contributed to this review. All are listed in the report but particular thanks to our funders and to Dr Janet Orchard the project manager and Dr Sarah Smalley REC Executive Officer. Thanks also to the RE APPG for hosting the report launch and to 3:nine for their PR work.

No review or document of this kind can be perfect, and not everybody will agree with every word in the report – neither of these is possible when dealing with RE. However, the Review commands sufficient professional, religious and political support to become the basis for an agenda for future work. The review is complete but the follow-up now starts. The REC itself, working with and through its member bodies, must now modify its strategic plan to take the recommendations forward. The Review also provides a basis for working with the Department and others on curriculum development, assessment, qualifications reform and training. The Department should now provide public support for this. I am delighted to be able to say that Mrs Elizabeth Truss, the minister with responsibility for RE, will be addressing the REC’s general meeting in London on 7 November.

There was more than a good feel to the Review launch on 23 October – there was a sense that RE may be turning the corner, and that the only way is up. If we in the RE community work together and with the Department, that can happen.

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