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Decline in religious education (RE) lessons in schools

2 October 2012

The National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) survey shows that 625 schools have reduced their RE teaching staff and seconded RE teachers from other departments since the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBac). This has raised concerns over the future of RE and it is of course an area of particular concern for Church of England schools.

The Revd Jan Ainsworth, chief education officer for the Church of England, has said that omitting RE from the EBac would mean schools stopped seeing it as a priority. She has commented that “The provision and quality of RE teaching in our schools will be diminished.” The Department for Education has reiterated that RE is protected as it is a statutory requirement and the EBac will not prevent schools from offering RE GCSEs.

Church of England schools have a long history in this country and it will be important, for these schools especially, to ensure that RE is taught to pupils to maintain their Christian ethos.

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