A bishop has accused the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, of marginalising religious education and called for a new national structure to agree how the subject is taught in schools. This is from the Times…
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev John Pritchard, backed a curriculum centrally determined by churches, faith groups and the Government to replace locally agreed syllabuses.
The Church of England has already produced, with the University of Cambridge, new teaching materials for RE lessons for its voluntary aided church schools, which set their own syllabus for religious studies. But it will share these with other schools.
The Bishop, who chairs the Church of England Board of Education, said: “You can’t really do comparative religion without having a faith that you know in depth. We don’t teach children five languages at once. You usually major in one and maybe they will have another one that they will do alongside it. We need to study one subject in depth.
“In this country it makes sense in most places to have Christianity as the main subject so we want to put more effort into producing really good material for Christianity.”
He said that new subject content being drafted by the RE Council of England and Wales should reflect a full range of beliefs, including humanist views. He urged Mr Gove to use this as the basis of a national RE curriculum.
RE in most schools is designed by local authority committees on which the Church of England and other religious bodies are represented. Mr Pritchard said this system was losing its influence because of shortage of funds and that RE was damaged by its omission from Mr Gove’s national curriculum and by shortage of teacher training funds in the subject.
Is the Bishop right in what he says, or do you think it would be wrong for the Church of England to be able to have a greater input in the teaching of RE in schools? Please let us know in the comments or on twitter…