EASTBOURNE MP Stephen Lloyd is chairing a new parliamentary group to safeguard the teaching of RE in schools.
The Church of England, the Catholic Church, the Buddhist, Jewish, Sikh and Muslim faiths, the British Humanist Association and professional RE teaching associations are joining forces to support the new All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).
The group will also look at how the subject can continue to deliver a valuable dimension to the education of all children and young people.
Mr Lloyd previously tabled a popular Early Day Motion that led to widespread cross party support.
Some 115 MPs from all parties agreed the Government should include RE as a humanities subject in the English Baccalaureate.
Mr Lloyd said, “I’m confident that this new PG will be able to provide real insight into the value of RE, especially as it helps young people leave school with an accurate grasp on the importance and relevance of religion.
“In today’s world where our children can be open to an enormous amount of misleading information, I believe it is absolutely essential they are taught about different cultures and religions by trained, experienced RE teachers, allowing children to make informed choices.
“The number of students studying RE at GCSE level has increased from 113,000 to 460,000 in the last 15 years, so it is clear that pupils find it a rewarding and fulfilling subject.”
John Keast, chair of The Religious Education Council of England and Wales, said, “We are delighted that Stephen Lloyd has offered agreed to help set up the first APPG on Religious Education.
“Recently the RE community has felt under fire and this represents an important step to give the subject a strong profile amongst parliamentarians.
“The coalition government is making policy decisions about academies, the national curriculum, qualifications and even teacher training provision.
“Directly or indirectly all these could challenge how RE is taught to young people.
“It is extremely positive that there is such goodwill and interest in Westminster to support the subject in schools today.”