Religious education in schools is 'a priority' say MPs

Hand up in classroom The new group of MPs believe it is essential children are taught about different cultures and religions

Related Stories

MPs have set up a new group to safeguard the teaching of religious education to pupils in England.

The all party parliamentary group on RE wants the subject to be treated as a priority.

Last year 115 MPs signed a motion demanding a debate on including RE GCSE in the English Baccalaureate.

A government spokesperson welcomed the new group but said "the English Baccalaureate will not prevent schools offering RE GCSEs".

Stephen Lloyd MP who will chair the group said the group would provide a real insight into the value of RE.

"In today's world where our children can be open to an enormous amount of misleading information I believe it is absolutely essential they are taught about different cultures and religions by trained, experienced RE teachers, allowing children to make informed choices," he said.

Mr Lloyd, a Liberal Democrat, tabled last year's early day motion on RE after the government left it out of the English Baccalaureate award to teenagers who get five good grades in key named GCSEs.

The subjects in the award are English, maths, science, a modern foreign language and a humanities subject - either geography or history.

Supporters of RE want to see it included in the humanities category.

'Under fire'

The new group has the support of a number of faith groups and RE teaching associations.

John Keast, chair of The Religious Education Council of England and Wales, said: "Recently the RE community has felt under fire and this represents an important step to give the subject a strong profile amongst parliamentarians."

"The coalition government is making policy decisions about academies, the national curriculum, qualifications and even teacher training provision.

"Directly or indirectly, all these will challenge how RE is taught to young people", he added.

The spokeswoman at the Department for Education said: "RE remains a statutory part of the school curriculum for every student up to 18. It is rightly down to schools themselves to judge how it is taught."

"We have been clear that pupils should take the GCSEs that are right for them and that we look to teachers and parents to help pupils make the right choice", she added.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Education & Family stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • SleepSleep on it

    Is it possible to strengthen your brain's synapses while you slumber?

Programmes

  • A man holds a sign which reads Bring Back Our GirlsHARDtalk Watch

    Why there is still hope and optimism for the rescue of Nigeria’s kidnapped schoolgirls

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.