Sikhs: Curriculum

Department for Education written question – answered on 12th January 2021.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union, Chair, Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to issue new guidance on teaching (a) about Sikhism in secondary schools and (b) diversity and inclusion in KS2 and KS3.

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

The Department for Education does not provide guidance to schools on teaching about any specific religion.

All state funded schools are required to teach religious education (RE) which must reflect that “the religious traditions in Great Britain are Christian, in the main, whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain”. For most maintained schools, in each local authority area the key document in determining the teaching of RE is the statutory locally agreed syllabus, which sets out details of what must be taught. Alternatively, academies and most schools designated as having a religious character may develop and teach their own RE syllabuses.

Schools should publish online the content of their curriculum in each academic year for every subject, including religious education.

The Department provides non-statutory guidance to schools on how the Equality Act 2010 affects them and how to fulfil their duties under the Act, including inclusion and diversity in how the curriculum is delivered. The guidance can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools.

Diversity is also being considered by the Independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities established by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, to examine inequality in the UK. In their Call for Evidence, the Commission asked for evidence to describe how the school curriculum could be adapted in response to the ethnic diversity of the country. The Commission is due to report to my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, by the end of February 2021 and the Department will carefully consider the Commission’s report when published.

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