Lack of good religious education ‘leaves pupils at risk’

Do different religions have separate heavens? Where do morals come from? What is the difference between Jesus in the Bible and in other scriptures? These are just some of the questions the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) says that secondary school pupils grapple with on a regular basis. The BBC reports.

But the REC is warning that a shortage of religious education teachers could contribute to religious stereotyping and discrimination, leaving pupils at risk of becoming ignorant, or bigoted.

It says high quality specialist teaching about all faiths, beliefs and world views is essential in a diverse society and is launching a campaign to try to attract more teachers into the profession.

Government data shows that in 2017-18, only 405 of initial teacher training places in England for RE were filled – well below the target of 643; figures for Wales have not yet been published.

For Lynsey Wilkinson, head of religious education at Redhill Academy in Arnold near Nottingham, RE is important, given the range of views and opinions to which pupils are exposed.

“I don’t consider myself religious, but there’s an academic side to RE that’s fascinating to me – the idea of approaching these huge concepts from an intellectual point of view is one I’ve developed a real passion for.”

Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, chief executive of the REC, says specialist teachers are crucial for keeping young people properly informed.

“It is clear that in Britain today, we need to develop a better understanding of different faiths and beliefs so that we build more cohesive communities. In a world where religious literacy is now a vital skill in all walks of life, the shortage of qualified RE teachers is a deep concern and needs to be urgently addressed.”

Read the full article Lack of good religious education ‘leaves pupils at risk’

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