NATRE’s response to the Welsh Government's consultation on RE

The Welsh Government has announced that it is consulting on key potential changes to the teaching of Religious Education (RE). The reforms up for consultation include a potential change of the name of the subject to ‘Religions and Worldviews’ and the ending of the right of parents to withdraw their children from RE lessons.

NATRE is encouraged by the Welsh Government actively taking an interest in RE and its role in their new curriculum. It is good to see they are consulting on one of the most challenging areas to affect our subject recently; the right of withdrawal.

The NATRE Executive sees no good reason for prolonging the right of parental withdrawal from inclusive RE and supports the Commission on RE's recommendation that the right of withdrawal should be reviewed. If the right of withdrawal is maintained then it should be clarified or modified by guidance to show that it is for reasons of religion and belief, and not for use selectively, in a discriminating manner.

As a step towards this we have produced our own guidance in association with the NAHT, which can be found here.

In addition,the proposed name change might be a step in the right direction of a more inclusive description of our subject. However the phrase ‘Religions and Worldviews’ makes less sense than the Commission on RE’s recommendation of “Religion and Worldviews”. The proposed term from the Welsh Government suggests that religions are distinct from worldviews, which differs from the Commission on RE idea that we all have a worldview, and this can be religious or non-religious.

NATRE would like to encourage all teachers and NATRE members in Wales to respond to the 8-week consultation, which can be found here.

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