Joint RE Council and National Association of Teachers of RE Statement:
On 30th May Ofqual published provisional figures for entries in public examinations in Summer 2018. These figures indicate a decline between 2017 and 2018 in entries for the GCSE Religious Studies full course of 37,500 to 260,300 (down 10.5%) along with a decline of 10,175 to 27,205 (down 27.2%) in entries for the short course over the same period.
Deeper analysis of the data reveals that RS is not the only subject outside the Government’s EBacc performance measure to see declines in entries this year. Other subjects, including Design and Technology, Drama, Economics, and Music have also experienced reductions in percentage terms, some even greater than those for RS. However, as the largest non-EBacc subject, RS has seen the greatest reduction in terms of student numbers.
This decline follows many years of continued growth in full course entries over the past decade, which only started to see a slight downturn in 2017. This growth is evidence that RS is popular among young people and that they consider the subject relevant and important for life in modern Britain.
However, it is now clear that Government policy is beginning to impact on the full course RS GCSE in the same way as it affected entries for the short course following the decision to exclude them from the Department for Education’s school performance tables in 2014.
Religious Education has a critical role to play as part of a broad and balanced curriculum and we are exploring steps to safeguard against a narrowing of the curriculum that will leave students educationally impoverished, employers limited in their choice of candidates, and our society culturally worse off.
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 religion and belief organisations inclusive of the range of faith communities found nationally, including Humanists UK.