Schools in Cornwall are reportedly to begin teaching pagan beliefs as part of the religious education syllabus for the first time.
Paganism, which incorporates witchcraft, druidism and the worship of gods like Thor, is now to be taught alongside Christianity, Islam and Judaism, the Daily Mail reports.
Under the plans, Christianity will still account for the largest share of the RE syllabus but children will also learn about the “basic beliefs” of pagans and the challenges a practising pagan pupil might experience at school.
According to the Daily Mail, Cornwall’s RE advisory group suggests that children from the age of five should learn about the meaning of standing stones, like Stonehenge. From the age of 11, they can begin to explore “modern paganism and its importance for many in Cornwall”.
Studies could also look at “the importance of pre-Christian sites for modern pagans”, the group suggests.
The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge told the newspaper that there was “barely enough time” to cover Christianity and the other major religions in the existing curriculum without adding paganism.
“Introducing paganism is just faddish and has more to do with the political correctness of teachers than the educational needs of children,” he said.
According to the 2001 census, around 40,000 people in England and Wales identified themselves as pagans.
Druidism was officially recognised as a religion by the Charity Commission in 2010.
Cornish schools to teach paganism
Published 17 April 2012