Campaigners fighting to ensure the place of religious education in our schools have said that six in 10 young people see the subject as beneficial.
A study has shown that 63 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds believe RE lessons are important for secondary students.
The YouGov research involved more than 1,800 people aged 18 and over and found that, overall, 53 per cent of the respondents, who were from England and Wales, believe RE should remain compulsory.
RE has been on the curriculum since 1944 and the survey comes as cross-party MPs this week attended the first meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on RE, which is to be chaired by Stephen Lloyd MP.
The survey found that only nine per cent said they thought it was “harmful” for pupils to study RE and only 13 per cent thought it should not be taught in schools at all.
Campaigners are waiting for details of proposed changes to the national curriculum, expected to be announced by the Department for Education shortly. It is feared that RE could fall victim to the government’s stated aims of creating a simpler, less prescriptive curriculum.
John Keast, chair of the Religious Education Council for England and Wales, said: “Our ambition is to promote widespread understanding of how academically rigorous and personally inspiring good RE can be and how it equips young people to appreciate a range of religious and non-religious beliefs in our world. It’s positive to see such a strong belief in the importance of the subject among the public.”
He added: “As part of the our on-going commitment to ensure RE teaching keeps up with proposed changes to the national curriculum, we are working on a revised subject framework for RE.”