Amanda Spielman's speech to the Policy Exchange
On Monday 9 July Amanda Spielman, OFSTED Chief inspector, gave a speech to the Policy Exchange think tank. There were two paragraphs on RE. There is a link to the whole speech below but two paragraphs specifically mention RE. It is a reminder that all pupils (unless they are withdrawn by parents) in all schools should be taught RE. It might also be a signal of what the promised greater emphasis on the curriculum might look like in the new OFSTED framework for 2019. This might be useful to share with senior leaders.
‘Religious education can contribute a great deal to mutual understanding in a multi-ethnic state. And while it can be quite straightforward to cover the factual information about the rituals and observances and meeting places of different faiths, there is far more that it can do. During my time at Ofqual, the exam regulator, we worked on the new religious studies GCSE, which for the first time is requiring students to study two religions. This means that they study at least one that is not their own, so they arrive at some understanding of the differences between faiths. And religious education also has the potential to develop children’s understanding of the diversity that often exists within as well as between faiths: after all, most faiths actually encompass a spectrum of views, from liberal to conservative.
Religious education done well helps children understand where values overlap and where they diverge, and hence the basis for the tensions that can arise between and sometimes even within faiths. It can help them understand the tensions that can arise between faith and other legally established rights, such as the rights of women and rights relating to sexuality. And done well it allows children to understand how their own faith relates to the wider world, both in terms of attitudes and the prevailing law. Again, this is not about indoctrination, rather about making sure that young people have the knowledge to make their own informed choices.’