Tuesday, June 19, 2007

BHA welcomes Ofsted report on RE, calls for national curriculum

The British Humanist Association has expressed its support for a national curriculum for RE, to replace the current system where syllabuses for RE are drawn up by committees in each local authority in England and Wales . This call comes in light of the Ofsted report on RE released today, which demonstrates the variable provision of RE in schools in the absence of a national syllabus.

Andrew Copson, BHA Education Officer, said, ‘We know that many non-religious parents and young people are concerned about the quality of RE provided by their school. Although in some areas RE is good, makes room for the humanist perspective to be included, and contributes to the development and education of non-religious pupils, in others it can exclude their perspective and undermine their developing values. RE needs more resources for the training of teachers and the development of innovative pedagogy, but we don’t believe any of this will achieve a lasting change without a statutory national syllabus against which to measure standards and attainment.’

In 2004, a Non-Statutory National Framework for RE was issued by DfES and QCA to encourage good practice in the drawing up of local syllabuses for RE and it included a recommendation that ‘secular philosophies such as humanism’ be included at all key stages. It was welcomed by humanists at the time as being a big step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, as Mr Copson continued, ‘Research commissioned by the BHA, and in the process of being presented as a final report for release later in 2007, has shown us that the current system of locally determined syllabuses has presented a major barrier to the inclusion of the humanist perspective in RE. It seems that without a statutory national syllabus, we will not achieve the best RE for all our children.’


For further comment, email Andrew or telephone on 07855 380633

Further information on the BHA’s position on making RE part of the national curriculum can be found here

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