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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.
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.
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.