RESOLUTION FROM LOCAL CHURCH:
THE THREAT TO RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN OUR SCHOOLS AND THE WELL-BEING OF THE NATION:
A campaign to bring about change to Government policy and practice initiated by
The Pendle and Burnley Group of United Reformed Churches
The members of the Pendle and Burnley Group of United Reformed Churches call upon Synod to support their concerns as expressed in a Church Meeting resolution.
There is a current and long-standing requirement for the school curriculum to promote “the spiritual, moral…and cultural development of pupils and of society.” In the light of this, we welcome the reference in the National Curriculum Review to the statutory position of Religious Education in the syllabus. We look in vain, however, for reassurance that this will be accompanied by action to guarantee the adequate provision of RE in schools, colleges and academies. We are particularly concerned at the probable adverse effects of changes in funding. Where authorities are engaged in cost-cutting, there is a real risk that the provision of RE will be undermined.
For example, in the White Paper on education, The Importance of Schools, published in November 2010, a GCSE in RE will not count towards the new English baccalaureate despite the fact that the number of young people taking RE for GCSE has soared in recent years. A timely study commissioned by the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, involving 1,000 young people between 16 and 24, found that upwards of 80% of these thought studying RE promoted a better understanding between people of different religions and beliefs. (see www.religiouseducationcouncil.org)
The members of the Pendle and Burnley Group affirm their conviction that RE makes a positive difference to society. It enables future generations to understand different religious and ethical beliefs and to evaluate opinions that are found in the UK and the wider world. In the light of this, they perceive that any threat to the place of RE in the curriculum is a threat to the long-term well-being of the nation – a climate of apathy, ignorance and lack of understanding fosters extremist attitudes and behaviour.
Members of Synod are urged to give their support in the form of a resolution adapted from that passed at the Pendle and Burnley Church Meeting on 9 January 2011.
The North Western Synod of the United Reformed Church expresses deep concern about the likely effects on Religious Education
1. of cuts in Local Authority budgets and arrangements for funding schools and academies
2. of an incentive for schools to meet government targets
3. of the fact that its importance is not recognized in the White Paper on Education
and urges Her Majesty’s Government to take whatever steps are necessary to safeguard the provision of Religious Education in our schools as a necessary contribution to the well-being of our society.
Supplimentary documents can be downloaded below…
Text for letter to Sec of State
Contacts for Synod
An Alternative Resolution