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Religion: Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 3rd September 2019.

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Photo of Mike Kane Mike Kane Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all schools provide pupils with opportunities to develop specific and age-appropriate knowledge and understanding of religions as part of promoting mutual respect and tolerance of people with different faiths and beliefs; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mike Kane Mike Kane Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the EBacc on the opportunity pupils have to study religious education.

Photo of Mike Kane Mike Kane Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that all state-funded schools are providing an adequate provision of religious education; and if he will make a statement.

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

All state funded schools are required by legislation or by their funding agreements to teach religious education (RE) to all registered pupils aged 5 to 18 years. Teaching RE is also part of schools’ activity to meet their legal duty to promote young people’s spiritual, moral and cultural development.

Each area is required to have a locally agreed syllabus for RE that maintained schools without a religious designation must follow. This is monitored by each area’s Standing Advisory Council for RE (SACRE). As part of school inspections from September 2019, as set out in Ofsted’s published School Inspection Handbook, inspectors will take account of the religious education taught as part of assessing the quality of education provided by the school. It is not Ofsted’s role to inspect denominational religious education in faith schools as part of its inspections. This provision is inspected separately under section 48 of the Education Act 2005.

The requirement for state funded schools to teach RE did not change with the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

Many schools choose to teach RE in key stage 4 through offering Religious Studies GCSEs, which are not included in the EBacc. Information on entries to the RE GCSE can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/statistics/key-stage-4-and-multi-academy-trust-performance-2018-revised.

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