Disappointment over exclusion of RE from EBac

The Religious Education Council of England Wales (REC) has criticised the Government’s decision to leave religious education out of the English Baccalaureate for a second year.

The Department for Education confirmed this week that RE would not be included in the EBac, along with music, art and IT.

The decision was made despite a nationwide campaign and petition which amassed more than 115,000 signatures calling for RE to be included.

The petition led to a debate in the Commons about the future of RE during which Tory MP Fiona Bruce, and Labour MPs Catherine McKinnell and Siobhain McDonagh spoke of the importance of the subject.

The REC criticised the Government for failing to offer a clear explanation for the decision, despite the huge level of concern.

Its Chair, Brian Gates, accused the Government was “knowingly undermining” RE in Britain’s schools.

He said: “It is a travesty that as we face challenges of cohesion and a weakening of our collective identity, the very subject that can make sense of it all has been deemed less academically viable than geography and history.”

The National Association of Teachers of RE recently warned that the subject was being “killed off” in schools.

In a survey of nearly 2,000 state maintained secondary schools, it found that a quarter were not providing statutory RE for 14 to 16-year-olds, a figure it expects to rise.