THE RELIGIOUS education lobby is backing Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd’s campaign to save the subject which he says is at risk.
The MP has been leading a campaign for the inclusion of Religious Education in the English Baccalaureate, a combination of six GCSEs which is at risk of being excluded.
Now the Religious Education Council, a charity made up of education, faith and belief groups across England and Wales including the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, the Muslim, Jewish, Sikh and Buddhist faiths, is backing Mr Lloyd, who has secured cross party support for an Early Day Motion calling for RE GCSE to be included as a humanities choice for the English Baccalaureate saying if it is not included there will be a significant decline in the tradition of RE teaching. To date, 111 MPs have voiced their disquiet with Government plans to exclude GCSE RE from the English Baccalaureate.
Brian Gates, chair of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, said, “We are delighted Stephen Lloyd has helped us communicate that excluding RE GCSE from the E-Bacc will inadvertently damage the subject. Put simply, statutory RE is only the basics and if there is no recognition that studying the subject in more depth is a good thing then schools will simply stop giving young people the choice.
“I know this as many schools are planning a reduction in their RE provision for next year.”
Mr Lloyd said, “In today’s turbulent world I believe it is important that as many of our children as possible are encouraged to study RE at GCSE. It is also important that they are taught by experienced and highly trained professionals, however the exclusion of RE from the E-Bacc will lead to both a reduction in the numbers studying RE and I believe a deterioration in the standards of teaching. It is precisely for these reasons that I am absolutely convinced that RE must be included as a humanities option in the E-Bacc.”