MPs launch inquiry into religious education provision in schools

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A cross-party group of MPs has launched an inquiry into the provision of RE, the supply of teachers, and the quality and extent of the support they receive in schools.

It is the first inquiry to be held by the recently formed All-Party Parliamentary Group on RE (APPG) and it will look at the way teachers are trained to teach the subject.

The APPG has issued a call for evidence in light of the fact that there has been no formal review of RE within the government’s national curriculum review. 

The MPs, who hope to publish a report in early 2013, are also concerned about the decline of RE provision after the subject was excluded from the English Baccalaureate.

A statement from the APPG said: “Parliamentary questions and research among schools, young people and teachers appear to show that the subject is being marginalised at the very time that high levels of religious literacy are becoming even more important in our interconnected, modern world.”

Stephen Lloyd MP, chair of the APPG, added: “RE should be offered to all young people as a rigorous and academically challenging subject in all schools. We know the provision and quality of the subject can vary, and some schools only make a token effort to fulfil their statutory obligation to teach it. 

“This inquiry will look at provision for the subject through the eyes of those who teach it – as well as professional bodies and organisations committed to its future.”

It comes as the RE Subject Review Expert Panel, set up by the Religious Education Council, published its draft report containing nine early recommendations for further discussion. A consultation period for the report runs until Friday, December 7.

The report calls for guidance on RE pedagogy and learning methods to be produced as well as further work with the Department for Education to promote RE across all schools.

The deadline for submissions to the APPG inquiry is December 14. For further information, visit www.religiouseducationcouncil.org or email b.wintersgill@btinternet.com

To download the draft report of the Expert Panel, visit www.religiouseducationcouncil.org/content/view/272/100/



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