A new settlement revised: Religion and Belief in schools

A report was released yesterday by Professor Linda Woodhead and former Education Secretary Charles Clarke which suggests that our more diverse society makes reform to current legislation even more overdue.

Stephen Timms MP welcomed everyone and reflected that we are all shaped by our experience of religion at school, legislation that was set in this place, Parliament, in 1944.

Professor Woodhead introduced the report she noted that when the 1944 act was first read in 1943 the country was at war but education was still considered to be important. She explained the morphing of the subject from RI to the official renaming in 1988 of Religious Education. She characterised RE as learning about others and suggested in 2018 it is time to learn about us in the diverse context we live in. She said, '...change is overdue RE like any other academic subject needs no longer to be exceptionalised and parents should no longer be allowed to withdraw pupils from RE.

Other recommendations in the report are around collective worship and 'faith schools'.

Read the report here: A New Settlement Revised: Religion and Belief in Schools

There has been much media coverage of this revised report:

BBC: Religious education 'vital for diversity'

Guardian: Religious education needs overhaul to reflect UK, says report

Schools week: RE should be renamed Religion, Beliefs and Values, says new Clarke/Woodhead report

TES: CoE schools face calls to end faith-based admissions

Charles Clarke was clear that now is the time to act and he felt that the government had made a good first step in the integrated communities white paper. He and Professor Woodhead are keen to hear responses to their recommendation. Please do let them know what you think.

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