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RE killed off....

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by Skitashi, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Skitashi

    Skitashi New commenter

    ..And anyone who heard the Today programme at around 7.05 this morning . Here's some of the report....
    RE has been a core subject for all pupils since 1870, but this could soon end. Michael Gove’s rapidly implemented plans to shake up the educational system are set to shake out RE. This may not be deliberate but is the inevitable unintended consequence of government actions.

    Being left out of the 2010 EBacc is already having devastating consequences in schools. A survey by the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) based on evidence from over half of all state maintained secondary schools in England reports:

    • A quarter of all academies and community schools are not providing statutory RE for 14 – 16 year olds.

    • This non-compliance is predicted to increase during 2011 – 12.

    • GCSE RE entries between 2010-11 and 2011-12 have dropped by more than a third in academies and community schools

    • In those schools where entry levels have dropped, over half attribute the drop to the impact of RE being excluded from
    My MP came into our school today he seemed genuinely impressed with the work we are doing in all the key stages...and said the typical parent response...wow not what it was like in my day etc....I know we are trying hard as professionals but I feel pretty flat about the future of this subject
    What more can we do?
  2. My head teacher said not to worry if I am made redundant as the way things are going I could change jobs and become a female Bishop. He was joking, I wasn't ****** amused.
  3. The sad thing is that it is totally dependent on your area and school. My school are very supportive of RE, always have been. My LA chief exec sent a letter to all Heads indicating that he supported RE and wanted it to remain firmly in the curriculum.
    However I met someone on a recent interview who has been made redundant, and they were the only specialist in school! That was an academy.

  4. I'm not bloody surprised what a f**king cheek. I would have gone mad! That really really is not funny!
  5. and we are being shafted by the 'influential' people in our subject. a professor, a leading r e publicist and another with more power over our lives all recenlty supported the view that there shouldn't be 'r e for all' (meaning full/short course gcse).
    our school has been very supportive but with the ebacc and yesterday's news, they are bound to notice they can save themselves over a hundred thousand a year in salaries if they make us redundant and close down RE.
  6. oggs26

    oggs26 New commenter

    my school cut RE and made me redundant! although it has to be taught by law or is that this isnt the case.
    People want kids to understand other faiths, cultures and religions! how on earth do they propose to cover that! i guess they wont and racism, ignorance will grow again
  7. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Hello everyone,

    Just doing a bit of a night shift to catch up on what has been going on here over the weekend.

    Delighted to tell you that I did go to the Education Festival. I went mad all last week editing and printing some of my resources - not sure why I thought it would help but I can only use the 'weapons' I have at my disposal. I worked right through the night on Friday night, editing and amending the Exploring Religion slide show, splitting it up - and making it into instalments that follow in a smooth way. I think that the issues I am exploring here are too serious and concentrated to show all at once, so I wanted about 50 slides in each 'instalment.'

    It is still a work in process but I thought it would be useful if I could give a copy to Michael Gove. It might help him to understand the subject better. I did parts 1 and 2, part of part 3 and an extended 'part 7' which was prepared with him in mind so it is not as 'pure' as I would want the final episode to be - plus it comes out at 70 slides which is on the long side. However it is quite a reflective episode with a lot of images so it may be ok.

    I gave Mr G three of my resources - Johar's poem, What Amazes You Most and 20 World Views. On the CD with the slide show episodes I also included a transcript of some of the speeches from the parliamentary debate and some of the reports submitted for the review on the Ebacc. Also some of the posts about the subject from this site.

    I wanted very much to ask a question after his talk but I have to 'surrender' to God that desire as the mike didn't come my way until near the end of the question time. I was so desperate that I threw a small paper-ball at the guy with the mike as he never looked my way. It caused some raised eyebrows. But the lady beside me also wished to ask a question - we were both trying for ages to catch the attention of the mike-man - so since I was a bit embarassed by the 'stir' I had caused by throwing the paper, I was polite and let her ask her question first. But then they wanted the mike back and the opportunity passed.

    I did pursue Mr Gove, waiting for him to be videod for the student television and catching him as he was about to leave.

    The only mention of RE and the Eng Bacc in the questions was asked by a year 10 girl. He made a big play of saying he knew that RE was important and when it was TAUGHT WELL (he made a big play of this, repeating it several times as though it was a dark secret that RE is usually not taught well) it could be rigorous - but that his focus was on achievement and he made no appology for that. He wanted everyone to get the opportunity to go to a good university and the Russel Group recommend Geography and History and not RE - so that's why he does not include RE in the Ebacc.

    At one point, answering a question about too much beurocracy (spell check doesn't recognise this so the spelling will just have to do for now) and red tape, too many government edicts etc, he said that anyone suffering from this problem should send him an email. If it was a general moan, he would give it a G and not reply but if it was a specific problem with a good suggestion of how to deal with it he would give it A* and act on it. So when I spoke to him I said that I was surprised to hear about the Russel Group problem. In view of what he had said about the B word (above) I would ask him an A* question. If I contact the chancellors of all the leading universities and they give me written statements to say that they like RE GCSE's and A'levels - and if I chase up the Russel Group which probably made up their list in the days when RE was Religious Instruction and haven't updated it in over 20 years - and they agree to include RE in their recommendations - if I can do that, will he then change his list and include RE in the English Baccalaureate.

    He refused to agree to this, saying something about waiting for something. He was backing off as quickly as he could - but he was carrying the bag I had given him with my work in it.

    I want to get details of every single speech - everything he has ever said or written about RE and the English Baccalaureate. He has changed the goal posts so many times. I want to word a really tight and accurate question a bit like the nasty ones they ask in parliament sometimes - which sets out the question in a way that makes a strong point at the same time - so anyone can see what a devious and slippery customer he is.

    Make no mistake, Michael Gove is very clever. I too had been giving him the benefit of the doubt, thinking that, as you say,

    Having heard him speak and answer questions in such a clever way that the general view seemed to be, 'well, I didn't think much of him before but he clearly is on top of things. I didn't expect he would be able to quote from ----- and even Spiderman!' - I think he is actually both clever and really dangerous because he must have known exactly what would happen if he kept RE out of the Bacc. I guess he is scared of the competition because so many kids love RE and find it relevant and interesting that the GCSE take up will never allow his beloved History to pick up. (I don't think it will anyway because most students prefer Geography.

    Well, we will have to wait and see what the Ebacc review does - but in the mean time, I am begging everyone to continue the campaign. Do not give up on this.

    And now I will not even try to get any sleep as I came to my mum's after the conference and have to leave here before 5 to miss the traffic and be at College by 9.00. Before I do I will upload the new versions of Exploring Religion into the Resource place and I would really appreciate some feedback. The general plan is - part 1 introduction/questions the jigsaw and kaleidoscope of religion. part 2 is Religion the song, music and dance, part 3 is Religio the Bond, religion in relationship (and is still in process) Part 4 will be awe and wonder, going back in time, The Wise Elders and Oral Tradition. Part 5 will be Eternal Questions and the coming of new light. Part 6 will be an introduction to the great World Religions and different concepts of God - and part 7 will be an adaption of the one am uploading (without the politics) and it is a reflection on the question Finding God?

    I would love you to use it and GIVE ME SOME FEEDBACK as I want to develop this into a book. It is all copyrighted but free for you to use from here.

    Best wishes to all and all power to your Ebacc fighting.
  8. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    The Festival itself was quite inspiring, one of the most unexpected delights was the headmaster of Wellington College who is really strong on spiritual, moral, cultural progress. All his students have an hour of silence on Wednesdays (I think I am right in this - it came up in a debate about how much time kids spend on their facebook and mobile phones etc) - and just around the school there were posters and info which encouraged reflection and awareness. I was impressed and will be getting back to him to see if I can do some work with the school.

    Bob Geldorf was the most inspiring speaker.

    I gave Bob and the head and a few other people including a bishop a copy of my CD so I hope it will have some impact in raising awareness about the dire situation we are in. Bob was talking a lot about right and wrong and the importance of educating our students to recognise the oneness of the world etc. He was interested when I told him that RE is under threat. I think he may have a look. The others - well the Headmaster said he would pass the CD to his RE dept.

    I know time is passing and the end of term approaches - but if anyone would like me to come in free (expenses only) to support RE in any way - I have a few days left unbooked.

    Have a great week.

  9. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    trying to upload the Slide Show parts from the CD. I is ok - but the other parts won't load. I have to go or I'll hit the traffic

    I'll try later

  10. SteveWoodhouse

    SteveWoodhouse Occasional commenter

    I think we're in real danger of muddying the waters. Accusations, ideas, campaigns, some of which appear to be very poorly thought-out are cropping up all over the place.
    The NATRE campaign is well-coordinated, and targeted specifically at what might work.Gove, Gibb and the DfE have already said on countless occasions that they accept that RS is an academically demanding option. They've conceded this in televised interviews, print interviews, replies in the commons and in giving evidence to the select committee. There is absolutely no mileage in digging out resources, power points, CDs, schemes of work, this will achieve absolutely nothing at this stage.
    The only thing which will work (for the immediate future, that is) is to persuade the department that there have been unintended/perverse consequences of their decision to not count RS as a humanity, and that the uptake of RS at GCSE has fallen off dramatically, with the hint that this will make the government look bad in front of Telegraph/Mail readers who send their little angels to church schools.
    That might sound harsh. That might sound a bit too politic. But that's the only thing we have to pin our hopes on between now and the decision to be announced in the next 3 or 4 weeks.
    The only thing I'd add is that I don't think unpleasant news in July will be the end of it. I can't see the EBac staying the same after a change of Education Secretary, and certainly not after a change of administration. Whether we have to wait for the league tables in January 2012, 2015, or 2018, the EBac will not be the same as it is today. Steve W
  11. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    You may be right but while we all try to be terribly nice and polite and well behaved, the dust settles and it becomes much harder to make things move. He is changing the goal posts and saying just what suits him at any one time. These are politicians we are dealing with. They are expert in spin and deviousness. That's reality. I think that in any campaign we need energy and courage to do whatever we feel inspired to do. I think it all adds up. If people had done that against the death camps rather than being terribly efficient in running the trains on time - then the numbers who died would have been much less.

    I certainly don't think my ideas are necessarily the best but in the absence of any orchestrated action I have to act rather than not act. This is such an important matter. There is no room for complacency and every bit of room for innovative ideas. I'll be happy to get behind you if you can suggest any better action to take - but not if you say take no action.

    I am not expecting everyone to agree with me - but at the end of the day, since I am a theist and believe that our students do have a spiritual life which is being starved and threatened, I will answer to His Command in my conscience and take what ever action I can to fight this. I'd love some wise advice from NATRE. Perhaps I'll get some from Lat later this week at the RS Conference in Yorkshire which I also hope to get to.

    There is an aphorism I like a lot - 'The Brave Shall Gloriously Succeed.' I think too many people forget that the great spiritual leaders who inspire those of us who love God were mostly rebels. They did not come from the polite establishment. They rocked boats. We are commanded to pick up our cross and follow.
  12. SteveWoodhouse

    SteveWoodhouse Occasional commenter

    Passion is good, but there's no point in wasting energy. As I've said we have no chance (zero, nothing, zilch, nowt, 0%) of pursuading the government to change the requirements for January's league tables, other than by pursuading them that there have been unintended consequences with the EBac in it's current form which their voters won't like.
    You'll see that this is exactly the tack NATRE are taking, and they've been extremely succesful in getting the story in every major media outlet in the country.
    Gove and Gibb do not want to say "We're wrong - RS is just as important", because they've already said it's just as important, but that compulsory RE at KS4 means schools would drop history and geography as they're already covered by compulsory RE - so no change.
    If they can be pursuaded that many schools aren't fulfilling their legal requirements, that compulsory RE is often poor, and that RE teachers are being layed off in droves, they can claim their have been unintended and unforseeable consequences.
    Politicians don't like saying they're wrong, but they like get outs.
    Steve W
  13. Apparently there is some truth in the Guardian article on the NATRE press release that the government is not going to make changes to the EBacc and that Gove will make an announcement to the House of Commons on Wednesday to this effect.
    Contact that MP and see NATRE update.
  14. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    I agree - but disagree. I agree that there's no point in wasting energy but I disagree in this case because at least for me it was not wasted energy. I would never have attended the Educational Festival if it were not for my anger about what M Gove is doing to RE. I just wanted to see the man for myself and be able to get a feeling for what he is doing and why. I also wanted to present him with something that might, in some way, begin to make him think more deeply (RE teacher and student syndrome.)

    In all this I did succeed. Also I met lots of other really inspiring people. It was a great experience and also enabled me to feel that I can do something. I have never taken action like this before and it helped me to become a bit more confident.

    I do believe that we can all do something. Some things will be more effective than others, but what each person can do is different. We have to offer our own unique 'fragrance' to the 'wind of change.'

    I am a 'heart-person' rather than a 'mind person.' I can offer something which is creative/spiritual/spontaneous. Others who are more intellectual and strong on logical intelligence will be able to plan and prepare a response which may well be more effective - but I think that since 'God' made us all and clearly loves variety, we all should respond to the injustices and evils we see around us in society in our own way.

    Incedentally Rosemary Rivett has sent an excelent email with attachments related to the EBACC and RE. I have uploaded these as a resource for anyone who may have missed out on the email.

    I am so grateful for Rosemary and the NATRE. They are the 'Mother Ship' in this battle.
  15. SteveWoodhouse

    SteveWoodhouse Occasional commenter

    As in today, Wednesday? There's nothing up at the 'What's On' page for today for Education:
    Nor next Wednesday:

    As I've said, I'd be surprised if he made an announcement before the ESC reports...but with Gove I suppose you never know.
    Steve W
  16. sorry steve, I'm not trying to mislead people unnecessarily but Rosemary Rivett in her circular email said :

    'on Saturday an
    article appeared in the Guardian saying that Michael Gove intended to make a
    statement of intent on Wednesday of this week about the EBacc and that RE would
    not be included. We have no reason to doubt that this is true – but we won’t be
    sure until we read the press on Wednesday'
    so what's going on I'm not sure - but I am itching to get some news on this ...if people want more on this email, go to the NATRE site.
  17. i have been similarly confused but now i google "announcement about RE and EBACC" i am told that July 19th is D Day.
    it leaves me wondering if this means Gove is actually hesitating for the first time?
  18. Part of the cynic in me wonders if the delay in announcement is down to the timing of both the school and Parliament summer holidays.
    I apologise for such cynicism but it's got me wondering!
  19. SteveWoodhouse

    SteveWoodhouse Occasional commenter

    Hi Andrew, I'm sure you're not trying to mislead anyone.
    Having read the Grauniad article, it's quite depressing. First impressions were that it's a government source talking to them.
    But here's the strange thing - the downbeat conclusion is not reflected in the stories in the other papers, like the Mail and Telegraph. And why on earth would the department give on off-the-record briefing and/or statement to their enemies at a left-leaning paper, whilst leaving their house newspapers in the dark to report negatively on their own party's government?
    It makes no sense.
    Meanwhile, I'll just repeat my guess that Gove probably (though not definitely) won't say anything just a few days before he knows the ESC is about to report. The ammunition you give to your opponents in doing this is both large and unnecessary. The committee is due to report before the commons rise for the Summer - what advantage could Gove possibly have for pre-empting them by a few days?
    We all watch and wait in interest.
    Steve W
  20. SteveWoodhouse

    SteveWoodhouse Occasional commenter

    Bad news.

    The DfE's FAQ was updated on Tuesday and now reads:
    Will the definition of the English Baccalaureate change for future performance tables?
    We expect the English Baccalaureate performance measure to remain the same until the first changes to the National Curriculum are introduced <u>in 2013</u>.
    EDIT - Sorry, just noticed that's been there since March.
    Steve W

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