New RE guidance – what’s wrong with it

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Margaret says:

    Dear Ms Nelson

    Thank you for your email dated 24 July addressed to Ed Balls about the updated non-statutory guidance on Religious Education (RE) in England which is currently under consultation.  As you can appreciate the Secretary of State receives a vast amount of correspondence and is unable to respond to each one personally.  On this occasion I have been asked to reply.

    I should explain that RE has held a special place in the school curriculum since 1944 when the current division of responsibilities between Government, local authorities, faith communities and individual schools was established.  We believe we have the right balance of responsibility in local and national partnerships; local authorities are close to and accountable to their communities – they are best placed to design an RE syllabus that reflects the needs and traditions of their community.  The national role fulfilled by Government is to provide guidance and support on quality standards for effective provision.

    The updated RE guidance has three central purposes.  Firstly it contains an up to date explanation of the law as it applies to the provision of RE in schools, reflecting in particular changes in the types of school since 1994.  However there is no change to the law on RE.

    Secondly it sets out the Government’s views on the importance of RE in the early 21st century.  It reflects the multi-ethnic and multi-faith nature of our society, the notions of tolerance and mutual understanding, and the Government’s emphasis on community cohesion which schools have a new duty to promote.  In doing so it reaffirms the Government’s commitment to the principles set out in the non-statutory RE Framework which emphasise the importance of learning about and learning from different religions and beliefs.

    Thirdly, the guidance is intended to help key stakeholders, including local authorities, Standing Advisory Councils on RE (SACREs), schools, headteachers and governing bodies carry out their functions effectively.  It does this by reminding them of these functions, by suggesting the issues they should consider in exercising them, and by offering presenting case studies of effective practice.

    I have not responded to the specific points raised in your letter, as similar issues are being raised by respondents to the public consultation.  The consultation period ran for twelve weeks and finished on 24 July.  All responses will be considered carefully when finalising the guidance.  The consultation can be found at:

    Yours sincerely

    Lorraine Littlemore
    Public Communications Unit

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.