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Religious Education

Education written question – answered on 3rd February 2011.

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Photo of David Burrowes David Burrowes Conservative, Enfield, Southgate

To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether his Department's review of the national curriculum will include the status of religious education.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Religious education (RE) is a statutory part of the basic curriculum of maintained schools in England, but not a part of the national curriculum. There are a number of important components of a broad and balanced school curriculum for which, as is currently the case, it would be inappropriate to prescribe national programmes of study. RE falls into this category, and therefore, falls outside the scope of a review of the national curriculum.

The nature of RE is such that local authorities and schools, who know their communities, are best positioned to design a syllabus which reflects local traditions and needs. The locally agreed syllabus, which is designed by Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education and adopted by the local authority, is statutory, and that means that local authorities must provide such a syllabus and that maintained schools must follow it. The Government do not intend to make any changes to the statutory basis for RE.

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