The Future of Religious Education

This paper, attached in pdf format, is my personal submission to the Commission on Religious Education, an enquiry set up by the Religious Education Council to “review the legal, education and policy frameworks for RE” with a view to “improve[ing] the quality and rigour of religious education and its capacity to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain”.

In it I examine the social context in which schools operate, the need for a strictly educational approach to “religious education” – objective, fair and balanced, as a 1975 publication from the British Humanist Association put it – and the reasons why religion and non-religious belief should remain in the school syllabus.  I see it as needing to develop into a subject that contributes valuably to the historical, cultural, social, political and philosophical education of young people.

I am grateful to Brenna Hughes, an RE teacher whom I met by chance when my submission was already in draft, for allowing me to include as an annex to it her RE “curriculum map” as an illustration of the sort of approach that I should like to see adopted.