Think you know RE?
Not only is RE under fire from a government policy that will focus on a core curriculum, it is also a vastly misunderstood subject.
Myth: RE lessons are about being religious
Fact: They are not – RE contributes greatly to understanding the diversity of religion and non-religious belief in our community and the world today. It also helps to foster young people’s own spiritual and moral development.
Myth: But RE’s already covered in other subjects like History and Geography
Fact: Yes, you will learn about different religions and beliefs in a geography lesson just as you’ll learn about the Holocaust in a history lesson, but this does not justify absorbing it into other subjects. Ignorance and intolerance of diverse religions and beliefs contributed to genocide in the 40s and still contributes to prejudice and extreme attitudes today. Young people need to be informed and knowledgeable about different religions and beliefs and good RE in their schools will achieve this.
Myth: Religious Studies GCSE and A level are easy, just another ‘studies’, isn’t it?
Fact: Religious Studies is Religious Education – it is not a softer studies subject. RS, whether at GCSE or A level, is a rigorous humanities subject. Young people find RS to be challenging and academically rewarding. It equips them to understand morality, ethics and credibility of evidence. It is recognised as providing suitable preparation for degree courses by top universities.
Myth: Schools have to teach RE, so there’s no problem is there?
Fact: RE is statutory, but our research has shown some schools are simply ignoring their legal obligation to deliver even the bare minimum of RE. What’s more, because RE is not part of the National Curriculum, it is not being considered in line with current curriculum changes. RE’s provision in free schools and academies is precarious too as they are only obliged to teach RE as part of their funding agreement.