Government given poor report in RE

Government neglect of Religious Education (RE) will be to the detriment of children and society, a veteran politician has warned.

The House of Commons’ longest serving MP, Sir Peter Bottomley, made the remarks in response to a review by specialists on the state of RE in education.

A team from the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education and RE Today Services awarded the Government an ‘E’ grade for its performance in the subject.

‘Gaping hole’

Researchers highlighted that the Government had spent “£0” on RE projects in the last five years, presided over a 20 per cent fall in GCSE entries over the same period, and scrapped the teacher training bursary for 2021-22.

Sir Peter said: “In neglecting religious education, we leave a gaping hole in our school curriculum.

“It leaves young people unprepared for the ethical, moral and religious debates that influence life in modern Britain and the wider world. Put simply, we miss an opportunity to positively enhance our children’s and society’s future.”

Absent from school

All state schools in England are required to teach Religious Education. Local councils are responsible for deciding the RE syllabus, but faith schools and academies can set their own.

Last year, parents and staff at Millbank Academy in Westminster, part of the Future Academies trust, reported that RE was not taught at the school, and was also missing from pupil timetables.

Despite the evidence, when questioned by the Department for Education (DfE), the trust claimed RE was being taught, and the DfE took no further action.

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