Today the Faiths & Civil Society Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London release a major new report on RE in secondary schools. The report highlights broad support for Religious Education from students, parents, and employers.
The students in the study stated that ‘learning about religion and belief is becoming more and more relevant’ and almost all of them stated that RE allowed to them to ‘engage positively with diversity’. The young people in our schools can clearly see the value of RE. This reflects other recent research in RE, such as that of the REDCo project, which found similar findings amongst students across Europe.
The parents and employers in the study were clear that RE should be compulsory throughout secondary school. They were also united in their agreement that RE provides an important opportunity to learn about the effect of religion and belief in the lives of individuals and on contemporary society.
We particularly welcome the recommendations for continued investment in Initial Teacher Training for subject-specialist teachers and increased investment in continuing professional development.
Chair of the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE), Daniel Hugill, says:
‘This report confirms what RE teachers know already – that the students in their classrooms value the opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of the phenomena of religion and belief. I am delighted to see that parents and employers can also see the value of RE to young people and wider society.
In order for every young person to experience high quality Religious Education we need the Department for Education and school leaders to value and make further investment in teacher training and ongoing professional development. It is only when teachers are well trained, confident, and knowledgeable that they can equip students with knowledge of lived contemporary religion and belief’.
Chief Executive of the Religious Education Council for England and Wales (REC), Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, says:
‘This is an important contribution to the growing debate on the critical role of RE in preparing children for life in modern Britain. It is clear that pupils, parents, teachers and employers all recognise the value of good RE as a core part of education, but the report makes clear that there is a need for further in-depth work on the nature, purpose and arrangements for the subject. The Government should take note of this and work with the RE Council to ensure good quality RE for all pupils in all schools, academies and colleges’.
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National Association of Teachers of RE
NATRE is the subject teacher association for RE professionals in primary and secondary schools and higher education, providing a representative voice at national level and publications and courses to promote professional development. NATRE’s Executive consists of a majority of serving teachers from primary and secondary schools who are elected for a three-year term of service.
Religious Education Council of England and Wales
Established in 1973, the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) brings together over 60 national organisations. These comprise academic and professional associations specialising in religions and religious education, as well as individual religions and belief organisations inclusive of the range of faith communities found nationally, including the British Humanist Association.