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Education – Parental rights consultation

December 2018

Religious think tank Theos is calling for a number of improvements to Religious Education in schools, in a report which summarises a series of high-level conversations on the effectiveness and future of RE.

Recommendations include ending parents’ right to withdraw their child from RE, ensuring Ofsted take action against schools not teaching RE well, and exploring structural reforms to improve consistency and quality among RE syllabuses nationally.

The report stated, ‘It is essential that all children have the opportunity to receive a high-quality, critical education in school about religion or belief. Yet it is increasingly clear that Religious Education in English and Welsh schools is facing very major challenges’.

The work is based on round-table discussions with policy makers, key voices from a range of beliefs and denominations and experts in the field. It offers a summary of three recent projects looking at RE by the National Association of Teachers of RE, Charles Clarke and Linda Woodhead of the Westminster Faith Debates, and the Commission on RE.

Theos also wants the Department for Education to take ‘active steps to address misconceptions about the aims and value of RE and offer practical advice to RE teachers about how to explain the subject’s aims and value to parents and senior leadership teams’.

It said the Department should ‘seriously’ consider the proposals made by the Commission on RE and Westminster Faith Debates concerning a national entitlement statement and a national syllabus for RE respectively, as well as on SACREs (Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education) — an advisory body to the local authority — and the right of withdrawal.eive a high-quality, critical education in school about religion or belief. Yet it is increasingly clear that Religious Education in English and Welsh schools is facing very major challenges’.

The work is based on round-table discussions with policy makers, key voices from a range of beliefs and denominations and experts in the field. It offers a summary of three recent projects looking at RE by the National Association of Teachers of RE, Charles Clarke and Linda Woodhead of the Westminster Faith Debates, and the Commission on RE.

Theos also wants the Department for Education to take ‘active steps to address misconceptions about the aims and value of RE and offer practical advice to RE teachers about how to explain the subject’s aims and value to parents and senior leadership teams’.

It said the Department should ‘seriously’ consider the proposals made by the Commission on RE and Westminster Faith Debates concerning a national entitlement statement and a national syllabus for RE respectively, as well as on SACREs (Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education) — an advisory body to the local authority — and the right of withdrawal.