Religious education in schools 'under threat'

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Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by Guest on Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:36 am

Coalition reforms are leading to a “serious deterioration” of religious education in schools, according to faith leaders.


Schools are dropping RE even though it is currently compulsory up to the age of 16. Photo: ADRIAN SHERRATT

Changes to GCSE league tables combined with moves to limit the role of local councils risks undermining the subject's place in the English education system, it is claimed. In a letter to The Daily Telegraph today, leading Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs call for urgent reforms to stop RE effectively disappearing from the classroom.

The comments come just weeks after a major study revealed thousands of secondary schools were already axing lessons for older pupils – flouting legislation that demands all children should be taught RE until at least 16.

A quarter of schools fail to provide the subject for 14- to 16-year-olds, it emerged, with around a third planning to drop it next year. In today’s letter, religious groups blamed the trend on the Coalition’s new “English Baccalaureate” – a school leaving certificate that rewards progress in traditional academic subjects.

Pupils must score at least a C grade GCSE in English, maths, science, a language and either history or geography to gain the baccalaureate. But critics claim the development undermines the teaching of other subjects, such as RE, music, art, physical education, ICT and design and technology, which are not included.

The letter, signed by figures including the Rev Michael Heaney, president of Churches Together in England, which represents Christian churches, and Farooq Murad, head of the Muslim Council of Britain, calls for RE to be added to the baccalaureate. “We are gravely concerned about the negative impact current Government policies are having on RE in schools and colleges in our country, due to a lack of strategic thinking about the subject,” the letter says.

It adds: “Recent policy initiatives in relation to GCSE examinations are already leading to a serious deterioration in the provision for RE in many secondary schools… Failure to work with faith communities, along with their partner academic and professional associations, would represent a serious flaw in the Big Society project.”

RE is a legal requirement for all pupils. Even if teenagers fail to take a GCSE in the subject, they should still receive lessons up to the age of 16. But it is claimed Government reforms risk both the quality of lessons and the number of schools offering the subject.

Today’s letter raises concerns about the expansion of the Coalition’s academies programme, which takes schools out of local authority control and grants head teachers complete independence over admissions, the curriculum, staff pay and the shape of the academic year. The move risks “undermining the nature and quality of RE”, the letter says, as academies will be able to ignore RE syllabuses drawn up by local faith leaders.

It is the latest in a series of attacks mounted on Government policy towards the subject. The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev John Pritchard, said that failure to take religion seriously was "highly dangerous" at a time when groups such as the English Defence League were staging violent protests against British Muslims.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “The English Baccalaureate does not stop any school offering RE GCSEs and we have been clear that pupils should take the GCSEs that are right for them. It is for teachers and parents to help pupils make the right choice.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/8625861/Religious-education-in-schools-under-threat.html



It is important for children to have knowledge of different religions in today's multi-cultural society. Does RE need to be compulsorily taught until the age of 16? I'd be interested to know how the subject is covered but potentially yes.

As groups such as the EDL become increasingly active, in my opinion, it's vital that children understand other religions. Religious or not, faith impacts on all of us.

We need to ensure that children are properly equipped to make sensible and reasoned choices study

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Re: Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by Guest on Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:10 am

I do think that all religions should be taught to at least the age of 14, providing they also teach that not everyone has a religion. As you say FTL, people need to understand one another.

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Re: Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by Guest on Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:28 am

In 2011 it seems silly to teach religion full stop. Virtually all of us know that our behaviour throughout our lives coupled with our morals and values have zero impact on any so called afterlife.

We are just carbon based life forms and not some magical being created by some deity.

We should start teaching children about real stuff, science and technology, ecology etc

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Re: Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by Guest on Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:56 am

Seren wrote:In 2011 it seems silly to teach religion full stop. Virtually all of us know that our behaviour throughout our lives coupled with our morals and values have zero impact on any so called afterlife.

We are just carbon based life forms and not some magical being created by some deity.

We should start teaching children about real stuff, science and technology, ecology etc

I do understand your point and I agree to a certain extent from an academic perspective. However, I do think that children need to understand each other's culture and religious beliefs bearing in mind the huge effect it has on today's society.

I'm not religious at all, once we're gone, we're gone. I don't believe there is an afterlife, heaven or hell. Other's don't hold the same beliefs, we're all different and having a greater understanding of each other can't be a bad thing.

I would like to know what is being covered in class from age 14-16. I would have thought that at least a basic understanding would be in place by 14 leaving students to cover as you say "real stuff" Very Happy

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Re: Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by Guest on Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:19 am

Feelthelove wrote:

I do understand your point and I agree to a certain extent from an academic perspective. However, I do think that children need to understand each other's culture and religious beliefs bearing in mind the huge effect it has on today's society.

I'm not religious at all, once we're gone, we're gone. I don't believe there is an afterlife, heaven or hell. Other's don't hold the same beliefs, we're all different and having a greater understanding of each other can't be a bad thing.

I would like to know what is being covered in class from age 14-16. I would have thought that at least a basic understanding would be in place by 14 leaving students to cover as you say "real stuff" Very Happy

In 2011 it's ridiculous that a modern country like ours would waste several hours of a children's school life on learning about deities which do not exist.

Many religions teach that women are substandard humans and cannot be priests for example. I really don't want my daughter to "understand" that cultural or religious belief as I am bringing her up to realise her full potential as a human being.

I do not want her head clouded with man-made ideas that some deity deems her subservient to males or that she is unclean etc.

If I had a son then I would probably be less bothered but as the mother of a girl I can honestly say I'd like to kick into touch any religion that puts restrictions on my daughter due to her sex.

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Re: Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by Guest on Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:32 am

I know exactly where you are coming from Seren and I have no religious beliefs. But I am with FTL on this. We cannot understand other people unless we understand the position they are coming from. We can teach the children to question it quite definitely, but knowledge of cultures and religions are needed to allow empathy and understanding. To do that, you don't have to teach that the religion is right, just what it is.

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Re: Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by Guest on Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:38 pm

I think kids should be taught about the beliefs held by various people, such as Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism and the rest. But not in any kind of factual or imposing way, just this is what they believe and this is their culture.

Also, only important in Primary School; kids are establishing their base knowledge there and they only need 'waste time' in becoming aware of the bare minimum. It is absolutely unneccessary in High School.

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Re: Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:39 am

eilzel wrote:I think kids should be taught about the beliefs held by various people, such as Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism and the rest. But not in any kind of factual or imposing way, just this is what they believe and this is their culture.

Also, only important in Primary School; kids are establishing their base knowledge there and they only need 'waste time' in becoming aware of the bare minimum. It is absolutely unneccessary in High School.

Hi Eilzel, hope you are well x

I wish I'd learnt more about other's religions as a child but certainly where I am from, we didn't have lots of people with different cultures and religious beliefs. Times have changed and I think while we are young we are more open minded and accepting of each others differences.

I do understand Seren's concerns though.

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Re: Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:11 pm

sassy1261 wrote:I know exactly where you are coming from Seren and I have no religious beliefs. But I am with FTL on this. We cannot understand other people unless we understand the position they are coming from. We can teach the children to question it quite definitely, but knowledge of cultures and religions are needed to allow empathy and understanding. To do that, you don't have to teach that the religion is right, just what it is.

Absolutely, my daughter will be raised to constantly "question" any preconceived notions that some lad is deemed to be her superior because of some dude who lived god knows how long ago.

We have many female scientists, doctors, politicians and economists here in the West. I will teach her to "empathize" with the culture of treating your womenfolk as dumb and worthless and let her know just how lucky she is that should she wish to be pilot (her latest dream Rolling Eyes ) for instance then there is nothing to stop her.

Indeed as technology gets smarter our world becomes a less physical one and many more professions like being a professional pilot will rely more on the sensitive handling of computerized controls. Such professions will be more ideal in the future for women especially as they are not a slave to testosterone when making their decisions.

Already on most computer games I see girls regularly thrashing boys as girls approach the games with a more level-head.

I predict that in the future, many men who are not "super" intelligent will be phased out of many professions and will be picking up the slack of the basic menial tasks that society needs. Say street cleaning, refuse collection, building etc as more and more women enter the workforce.

This next generation will see I predict virtually all women seeking to have a career or a job at least. The idea here in the West that women choose to get married and stay at home for ever as a housewife is dead and buried.

Should my daughter attend a school where culturally these ideals do not exist amongst all the pupils then she will be well mannered and non-judgemental. Whilst at school together she will politely nod approvingly when a young muslim girl tells her that her parents have planned her life and marriage (as well as her future husband) but she will know that after school both their lives will be very different and they will probably never see each other again.

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Re: Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:04 pm

Don't most sane people grow out of having an "imaginary friend"? Question

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Re: Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by victorismyhero on Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:05 pm

MrDoodles wrote:Don't most sane people grow out of having an "imaginary friend"? Question

yeah..especially ones that tell you what to do......
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Re: Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:09 pm

The only person I answer too is me, and that is the way it is going to stay!

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Re: Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:11 pm

sassy1261 wrote:The only person I answer too is me, and that is the way it is going to stay!

A girl after my own heart I love you xxx

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Re: Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:13 pm

Feelthelove wrote:

A girl after my own heart I love you xxx

Just call us Miss Independences!!!!

Now I have to away to my bed love, talk tomorrow xx

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Re: Religious education in schools 'under threat'

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:14 pm

sassy1261 wrote:

Just call us Miss Independences!!!!

Now I have to away to my bed love, talk tomorrow xx

Me too Sassy, sweet dreams I love you xxxx

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