Call for evidence on the teaching of Religious Education
The Commission on Religious Education (CoRE) was created in July 2016 by the Religious Education Council (REC) to review the legal, education and policy frameworks for Religious Education (RE) in England and Wales. CoRE and REC are not statutory bodies.
The Commission is currently carrying out a review of Religious Education (RE) teaching, and is seeking your views.
This is an urgent opportunity to underline the importance of children being taught about Christianity.
Challenges and opportunities
There are pressures to focus on philosophy and ethics in RE, for Christianity to no longer be central in the curriculum and not highlight the differences between religions.
Curriculum content is currently determined either by a local authority Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) or by the local diocese. There are growing calls for a common curriculum to be centrally imposed but this would mean, for example, that church schools would find it harder to reflect their Christian ethos.
Please respond to the call for evidence and tell the commission why it is important that Christianity remains central in RE teaching, especially in Christian schools.
Below are some points you might want to make in your answers.
The deadline for responses is 09:00 on Monday 13 February.
There are 8 main questions (see below). You do not have to answer every question. Your answers can be short. You should be able to complete the survey in a few minutes, if you wish.
The scope of the review is limited to RE teaching and does not include assemblies, Christian worship or extra-curricular activities that contribute to the spiritual life of a school community.
You might want to use your own words to make some of the following points:
- State that Religious Education should not simply be about teaching sociology or ethics, but about helping children to understand different religions and beliefs, practices and the outworking of those beliefs
- Explain that Christianity should be central in the curriculum (partly because that helps children to understand the culture that they are growing up in)
- Say that faith schools should have freedom to continue to determine their own RE curriculum content and not have a centralised curriculum imposed
- Highlight that better resources and training are needed to help teachers and schools improve the quality of RE teaching
The following questions may also help you with your response.
- Why is it important for your child to study RE and have time to reflect on personal belief?
- What aspects of RE does your child enjoy, and how does this help their spiritual development?
- Why should Christianity remain the central tenet of any RE curriculum?
- If you teach in the primary sector, how are you supported by Christian organisations (with resources, materials, etc) and how does this help your teaching?
- For all teachers: how vital is the role of RE teaching in holistic development of students?
- Why is it important to study RE?
- What makes a good RE lesson? How would you define a weak lesson?
- What do you want from your RE lessons?
- Do you welcome local schools into your church as part of their RE curriculum? How does this help students to understand the distinctiveness of the Christian faith?
- Do you contribute to RE teaching? How does this make an effective contribution to the students’ understanding of the Christian faith?
- Are you a SACRE member? If so, why is it important for SACREs to continue their work?
The main questions in the consultation are as follows:
- What do you consider to be the main aims and purposes of RE?
- What should be included in the scope and content of RE?
- What changes (if any) should there be to the current legal framework for RE?
- Should there be a common baseline entitlement for RE which applies to all types of school?
- How should the development of RE standards, curricula, or syllabuses be best organised?
- Are there changes to primary and secondary teacher education that could improve the delivery of high quality RE?
- What factors lead to high quality learning and teaching in RE, and what are the main obstacles to this?
- Which books, reports, research, or resources (if any) would you particularly like to draw to the attention of the Commission? Please give full references/weblinks