Religion: Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 14th July 2017.

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the merits of including religious education in the national curriculum.

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

Religious education (RE) must be taught by every state funded school to pupils up to the age of 18.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to support the activities of Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) and publish an agreed syllabus for maintained schools without a religious designation in their local area. Maintained schools with a religious designation and academies are not required to follow the agreed syllabus, although it can act as a useful benchmark for their curriculum planning.

SACRE membership must include representatives of the area’s principal faith groups, teachers and from the local authority. This contributes to securing the confidence of local communities and enables the SACRE to take account of the circumstances of each area in creating an agreed syllabus that has regard to local context.

The Government does not have any current plans to remove the duty on local authorities to establish SACREs and include RE in the National Curriculum.

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