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A plea from NATRE

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by deut, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. deut

    deut New commenter

    I received this from Rosemary Rivett of RE Today and NATRE. Please do as she suggests and write again.

    Hello everyone
    If you received one of the standard replies from the DfE to your letter about the EBacc, can I urge you to reply to it as a matter of urgency. I copy below a suggested response. If you haven’t yet written, please adapt the text below, adapting the points as you wish. Please also send a letter along the same lines to your MP.
    It seems that the pressure applied by the RE community has already had a significant effect and Michael Gove has said he will listen to reasonable and collaborative arguments. We need to press the case for RE to be added to the EBacc NOW. In doing so we must deal with the misunderstanding that, just because RE is compulsory, it doesn't need to be inside the EBacc.
    We have to show that GCSE RS is a valuable area of study, because it is academically rigorous, it allows young people to evaluate contemporary worldviews and it serves as a philosophical and moral training ground.
    Please circulate this email round all your networks – NATRE and RE Today are using Facebook and Twitter as well as their websites – do check these places for updates.
    With very many thanks for all you can do.
    Best wishes

  2. deut

    deut New commenter

    Forgot to add the email that you can use as a template

    Dear ...

    Thank you for your letter in response to mine of ... Etc...

    However, we still remain extremely concerned about the impact of the proposed English Baccalaureate on GCSE and A level religious studies.

    We accept that the statutory arrangements for religious education remain the same, however, there are some important distinctions between statutory or core provision of religious education at Key Stage 4 and the option for students to take religious studies as a GCSE full course.

    Nearly 280,000 students took a GCSE short course in RS in 2010, thus fulfilling the basic legal requirement for those students. While this is preferable to non-award bearing courses, it is important that students have the opportunity to undertake a programme equivalent to those available in other Humanities subjects that is both rigorous and academically recognised.

    Around 190,000 students took a GCSE full course in RS in 2010. The GCSE full course is recognised as an academic subject requiring high standards of knowledge, understanding and evaluation of evidence and argument to achieve high grades. This means that substantial numbers of young people have been going out into society with vital knowledge and understanding for today’s world.

    The GCSE full course in RS should be included in the list of Humanities subjects qualifying for the English Baccalaureate. The consequence of NOT including it as an option would be disastrous for many schools and students and for the future expertise required to teach the subject.

    While it is true that students can still achieve a national qualification in RE/RS via the Short Course (assuming the GCSE short course is retained in the forthcoming curriculum review), its absence from the English Baccalaureate Humanities list is already resulting in schools removing the full course option for RS altogether. This means that the opportunity to take GCSE full course RS currently undertaken by thousands of students will be denied to a great many in the future. This would be a major blow, not just to those students who are keen to study religions and beliefs at a deeper level, but also to our society. Students qualifying with GCSE full course in RS are young people who demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a variety of contemporary worldviews and who have demonstrated skills of discernment and evaluation of religious and philosophical issues and arguments, qualities much needed in today’s world.

    Locally agreed syllabuses usually require that every young person should be following an accredited course in RE/RS at Key Stage 4. Some will do so via the GCSE short course, but the GCSE full course provides the depth and breadth of study needed to continue studies at a higher level. To include RS in the list of Humanities for the English Baccalaureate would be to support Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education in ensuring their role in promoting high standards in RE is valued and given status.

    In addition, GCSE religious studies is a qualification that is approved in every English and Welsh university. This reflects the fact that RE is one subject of the curriculum where England and Wales lead the world. Countries from Africa, through Europe to the Far East look to Britain to provide models of RE that promote deep understanding of the religions and beliefs of traditional heritage alongside those of their neighbours.

    To reiterate, the unintended consequence of not including GCSE RS as an option in the English Baccalaureate is that many schools will cease to offer RS at GCSE altogether; this in turn will have a very negative impact on the number of students taking RS at A level, and therefore on the applications for theology and religious studies at degree level. This means that there will be a corresponding decline in candidates for teacher training and so on teacher supply for RE, a subject which is already lacking in sufficient specialist teachers.

    We ask therefore that you include religious studies in the list of Humanities subjects for the English Baccalaureate at the earliest opportunity.

    Yours, etc..

  3. poppy2004

    poppy2004 New commenter

  4. Does anyone have a stock letter to send to Gove/MP as a 'first letter' ?

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