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Time to re-think RE?

Friday, 20 September 2013

Michael Gove admits that Religious Education has suffered in recent years. What can schools do to boost the subject?

Religious Education is compulsory in England’s schools, but RE teachers and leaders have complained that the subject has been ‘sidelined’, with fewer students choosing to study it for GCSE.

Education Secretary Michael Gove admitted at a Church of England conference in July, "I think RE has suffered as a result of my belief that the protection that it had in the curriculum was sufficient, and I don't think that I've done enough."

John Keast, chairman of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, said: "We welcome this first indication that Mr Gove finally recognises that there is an issue.

"RE is a popular and academically rigorous subject, however this government's actions are resulting in fewer specialist teachers, lessons being cut and exam entries going down.”

There has been a campaign to include RE in the English Baccalaureate. RE teachers have complained that pupils were being steered away from their subject and towards those included in the English Baccalaureate - English, maths, two sciences, history or geography plus a foreign language.

Critics including the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, claimed Religious Education’s exclusion from the EBacc led to the subject being "downgraded".

So, what can be done to lift RE out of the doldrums?

Religious Education has had a difficult time in recent years; with many criticising it as irrelevant.

Here at vision2learn for schools we think Religious Education still has a place in today’s secondary schools. But, the subject needs to be interesting and engaging. It must balance Christianity with other religions, tackle real-life issues and encourage pupils to discuss their views openly.

GCSE Religious Studies B

Our GCSE Religious Studies B online resource supports the study of philosophy and ethics in relation to Christianity and Islam. Designed to enable pupils to think about real-life issues, it will help to develop skills in analysing and evaluating a range of opinions.

Students learn how to explain key philosophical and ethical ideas, form insights and express their views about fundamental questions and issues, including:

• Belief about deity
• Religious and spiritual experience
• End of life
• Good and evil
• Religion, reason and revelation
• Science and religion
• Human relationships
• Medical ethics
• Poverty and wealth
• Peace and justice
• Equality and the media.

A wide range of thought-provoking questions, activities and case studies help students develop their critical thinking and debating skills, as well as the essential reading and writing skills needed to achieve their Religious Studies GCSE.

vision2learn for schools Religious Studies B GCSE resources could be used by any pupil at Key Stage 3 or 4 studying for GCSEs or other qualifications.

Our online RS resource means that even with reductions in specialist Religious Studies teachers, schools can still deliver high quality teaching in the subject and prepare students for a range of careers requiring people skills, including the police service, retail and education.

If you’d like to see a demonstration of our Religious Studies B resource in person or online, please get in touch.

We also offer a range of other online vocational courses and GCSE resources.