'Championing the rights of children'

Gove says school RE has 'suffered'

Garry Fri 05 Jul 2013 07:57

Education Secretary Michael Gove has told religious leaders Religious Education has "suffered" in England's schools amid government changes.

He said he had mistakenly thought that because RE was compulsory for pupils up to age 16, the subject was "protected".

Church leaders and RE teachers have complained that the subject is being sidelined and that fewer people are taking it for GCSE.

Mr Gove said he wanted to work with faith groups to improve RE teaching.

Speaking at a Church of England seminar on Wednesday, he said: "If I'm being honest, over the last three years I've thought, 'Well that's protection enough', [the fact that RE is compulsory] and therefore I've concentrated on other areas," he said.

"I think RE has suffered as a result of my belief that the protection that it had in the curriculum was sufficient, and I don't think that I've done enough."

There has been a campaign to get RE included in the English Baccalaureate - a league table measure of the proportion of pupils in individual schools who get five good grades in specific subjects.

RE teachers and supporters of other subjects, particularly art and music, have complained that pupils were being steered away from their subjects and towards those included in the English Baccalaureate - English, maths, two sciences, history or geography plus a foreign language.

At the seminar, Reverend John Pritchard, the Bishop of Oxford and chairman of the Church of England's Board of Education, told Mr Gove that this move, alongside other changes, had "been quite demoralising" for the RE community.

Read more... (BBC News - 4 July)