Baroness Warsi celebrates religious education

Over the next month, events will be taking place across the country to promote RE as a vital school subject as part of Celebrating RE, launched at the House of Commons yesterday.

In her address, Baroness Warsi said religious education was an important subject and "rightly" a statutory part of the national curriculum.

She said RE was "central" to the aim of the school curriculum in promoting the spiritual, moral and cultural development of children and young people.

It also provides a key context for developing young people’s understanding and appreciation of diversity, and challenging stereotypes, racism and discrimination, she said.

Baroness Warsi noted that a condition of the funding agreement for academies and new free schools was the provision of RE.

"That is how important and fundamental we [the government] consider RE to be," she said.

"I hope that during the course of this month of celebration many people will take the opportunity to gain an insight into the valuable contribution this special subject makes to the development and education of our young people."

She added that there was an "untapped appetite" for a "more mature" discussion on faith in Britain and that people were "fed up of the patronising, superficial way" in which faith was being discussed in certain quarters, including the media.

MPs at the launch of Celebrating RE were invited to sign the Early Day Motion in support of RE and the subject's inclusion in the new English Baccalaureate.

Christians are concerned for the subject's future after education minister Michael Gove announced that RE would not be on the Baccalaureate curriculum.

The motion, tabled by Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne, states that "the rise of religious extremism around the world and in the UK means that a good understanding of all religions is vital to a well-rounded education".

A major nationwide campaign has been launched by Premier Christian Media urging Gove to change his mind.