Most people think politics should replace religious studies in schools, poll shows

The Tes reports that nearly three-fifths of the British public believe that religious studies should be replaced by politics at secondary school, a survey suggests.

In the survey of 2,000 people, commissioned by the political youth platform Shout Out UK, 92 per cent said they believed politics should be a compulsory subject in the national curriculum, with 57 per cent of respondents saying it should replace religious studies. 

Some 78 per cent of participants felt they had left school with little or no political knowledge, with 84 per cent stating that most of what they knew had to be learned from sources outside education, such as family and the internet.

Only 36 cent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 25 said they understood how the voting system worked, with 58 per cent saying they had previously mixed up voting for a local MP with voting for the prime ministerial candidate in a general election.

Of the people asked, 81 per cent thought politics should be a compulsory subject at secondary school level, and then become an optional subject at GCSE and A level.

Matteo Bergamini, founder of Shout Out UK, said it was “baffling” that politics had been overlooked as a compulsory area of learning.

Mr Bergamini also said it was “fantastic” such a high proportion of the public wanted to replace religious studies with politics. 

“Religion has shaped our country and deserves a place in the curriculum as part of history, but not as a standalone subject,” he said.

Read more Most people think politics should replace religious studies in schools, poll shows

Do you agree? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: Learning, Religious Education and Secondary.


  1. Graham Nutbrown

    Should religious education be replaced by a political education? Absolutely not. There is more to humanity than politics. Religious education has an important role to play in introducing children to the diversity of beliefs in this country and around the world. Religion is one of the ways in which people have always, and still do, make sense of their world. Would people vote to replace literature with politics? We need to know more about the survey to know exactly what the respondents thought they were accepting and rejecting. Were they rejecting knowledge and understanding of other cultures, of opportunities to discuss alternative moral and epistemic principles, to practise open-mindedness, tolerance and humility? On the other hand, should children be taught also about alternative political and economic principles and priorities, about the state, the electoral system, and social realities, about how values such as equality, freedom, justice and fairness can conflict? Of course they should. This is not a case of one or the other. In some schools religions are taught within a subject called “Philosophy and Ethics” and sometimes “People and Beliefs”. There is always a danger of watering down religious beliefs, of focusing on festivals and feasts, and of not doing justice to the strength of people’s religious commitments; but so there is with political commitments. In both cases teachers should not be so warily “ecumenical with the truth” that real debate is avoided. If not in school, then where and when?

  2. The examples quoted as being desirable are not so much ‘politics’ as a tiny sub-set of ‘British Constitution’. Perhaps those conducting this poll don’t know the difference. Heaven forbid they might have been trying to con those surveyed to in pursuit of a political objective.

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