Why is RE under threat?
It is a turbulent time for RE.
- The subject has been ignored by the National Curriculum Review and was excluded from the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). Despite plans for an English Baccalaureate Certificate being dropped, state-maintained schools are reporting a decline in RE provision as a result of the EBacc.
- The Government’s focus on the core subjects of the curriculum, important though they are, is undermining both the provision and quality of RE in an unprecedented way.
- A common response is that RE is protected as schools have to teach it. This is not the case. RE is statutory but it isn’t part of the National Curriculum so is not being considered by Government in line with current curriculum changes.
- RE’s position in free schools and academies is precarious as they are only obliged to teach RE as part of their funding agreement and not by law.
- As with any subject, access to high quality, trained, specialist teachers is vital. Good RE needs to be taught by teachers trained in the subject, yet teacher training provision for RE teachers is gradually being reduced year on year.
In short RE is being marginalised in our schools – just when understanding of religions and beliefs are accepted as being needed more than ever.