Teaching non-religious worldviews

Over the past weeks and months several documents offering guidance on the teaching of non-religious worldviews have been circulated. These documents have been issued following the High Court judgment made by Justice Warby in November 2015. NATRE notes that all of these documents are offering guidance rather than being legal requirements for schools to follow. The most recent legal ruling referred to GCSE in non-faith schools. This was in November 2015 when Justice Warby stated in paragraph 81:

In my judgment The Assertion contains a false and misleading statement of law, which encourages others to act unlawfully. In its ordinary and natural meaning The Assertion tells its readers that delivery of RS GCSE content consistent with The Subject Content will fulfil the state’s legal obligations as to RE. That is likely to lead those responsible for RE syllabus content to rely exclusively on GCSEs specified in accordance with the Subject Content. That could be enough to meet the state’s RE obligations but, contrary to the Assertion, it will not necessarily be so. GCSE specifications could be compliant with The Subject Content and yet fall short of delivering the RE obligations. In that event, the state would need to afford some additional educational provision or fail in its duties. The relief to be granted to reflect these conclusions will be a matter for discussion with Counsel.

NATRE believes that good practice in RE, as well as European and domestic legislation, has established the principle that RE in schools without a religious character should be inclusive of both religions and non-religious worldviews. Schools should ensure that the content and delivery of the RE curriculum are inclusive in this respect.

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