The Derby Telegraph reports that the Derby Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) has “expressed concerns that the subject is disappearing from classrooms” and has “written to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for RE, asking for a review to be carried out”.
It is also “critical of the Government’s decision to exclude RE from the newly-introduced English Baccalaureate, which includes English, maths, languages, science and humanities.”
Derby Mayor Councillor Lisa Higginbottom, chairman of the SACRE, said:
“RE, while remaining part of the basic curriculum, is in danger of becoming insular and fragmented at a time when religion has a high profile.”
These are issues that have been highlighted before on the Voice Blog.
“The Comres survey for BBC local radio found 64% of the 500 parents questioned said their child did not attend daily acts of collective worship. But 60% of the 1,743 adults asked said the legislation should not be enforced. Some schools were opting to teach pupils about community rather than religion, said educationalists.
“The Department for Education states that all maintained schools in England must provide a daily act of collective worship which must reflect the traditions of this country, which it says are, in the main, broadly Christian.”
In an article in the October 2009 edition (pdf) of the Voice members’ journal, Your Voice, Nardia Foster MA (Psychology of Religion), CPsychol (Chartered Psychologist) highlighted a Durham University report that revealed widespread ignorance of the Bible amongst children.
Voice has also raised its concerns about the “narrow and pointless” English Baccalaureate (EBacc), warning of the exclusion of subjects like RE, drama and music from this much-vaunted measure of supposedly “vital” “core subjects”:
“The EBacc appears to be reducing a broad and balanced curriculum to five subject areas, and ignoring RE and many other important subjects in the process. Students who would like to take vocational or technical subjects, Religious Education or concentrate on a range of sciences, rather than a language, could miss out.”
An independent review of Cultural Education in England has raised concerns about the detrimental impact of the EBacc on cultural education in England.
Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (SACREs)
Most local authorities ask teacher unions to nominate someone for their local SACRE, and Voice’s Volunteers’ Committee would like to hear from members interested in taking part.
“Many teachers have found that being on their local SACRE has offered valuable development opportunities and has opened up a network of support, especially for those who teach RE, whether at primary or secondary level.
“You will also have the chance to contribute to community cohesion and to explain to keen amateurs what actually goes on in schools and what education, rather than indoctrination or religious nurturing, is about. This is particularly significant when SACREs are writing guidance for schools and parents on specific issues.
“More importantly, you will be able to influence your local authority and contribute to the locally agreed syllabus.”
Do let us know your views and experiences.