Published: 11:59 GMT Daylight Time - Friday 01 July 2011
One in four UK state schools failing to teach RE to over-14s
Country/Region: United Kingdom, Europe
Religious Education is at risk of disappearing from many schools, with one in four failing to teach it to children aged between 14 and 16.
|A school in England
Source: wikimedia commons CC BY-SA 3.0
The National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) conducted a poll of almost 2,000 secondary schools and found that more than 500 are breaking the law by dropping RE at GCSE level. It predicts that this figure will rise by ten per cent next year and says that the introduction of the English Baccalaureate is the key reason.
Since 1944, the law has required all five to sixteen-year-olds to study the subject, and guidelines state that it should comprise at least five percent of their curriculum.
NATRE claims that the Government’s plan to leave RE out of the new English Baccalaureate gives schools less incentive to teach the subject.
There has been a dramatic slump in the take-up of RE in secondary schools. Once it dies out at GCSE level, it will die right across the board.
The findings come as Operation Nehemiah raised concern last week that Christianity is being rapidly squeezed out of UK schools by an agenda hostile to Christian teaching and values. ACTS, a Christianity resource pack prepared by Operation Nehemiah, seeks to motivate churches to support their local primary schools in the teaching of Christianity as part of the RE syllabus.
In 2010 Ofsted, the inspectorate for schools in England, found that pupils’ ability to explore and apply Christian perspectives to moral and social issues in the short-course GCSE was often limited because many of the primary and secondary schools visited did not pay sufficient attention to investigating the core beliefs of Christianity.
Operation Nehemiah believes that Christians and churches must reach out to local schools to prevent Christianity from being gradually sidelined in the syllabus. Starting at primary level (ages 5-11), ACTS is one step towards reaching out to schools and equipping them with material that will make a difference.
More details about ACTS
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