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The EBacc - a question tabled in the Commons Contact your MP NOW

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by SteveWoodhouse, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. SteveWoodhouse

    SteveWoodhouse New commenter

  2. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Thanks, Steve W,

    I have written to my MP and am copying the letter here - not because I think it's the 'cats whiskers' or because anyone can copy it for their MP - I think our letters should always be personal - but for two reasons. It might help others who are busy - by giving them something to work from - and secondly I am not very experienced in writing to MP's and would value any feedback that more experienced MP-writers may have so that I can improve my style and make my letters more effective.

    thanks for drawing our attention to this. I had no idea. Good for Stephen Lloyd!

  3. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Dear Zac Goldsmith,

    I have just learned that Stephen Lloyd tabled an Early Day Motion yesterday asking for RS to be included in the EBacc.



    Lloyd, Stephen

    That this House notes the recent publication of league tables of school performance measuring the proportion of pupils obtaining the English Baccalaureate; further notes that the English Baccalaureate is awarded to pupils who gain GCSEs at Grade C or above in English, mathematics, science, a foreign language and a humanities subject; further notes with concern that this list of approved subjects does not include religious education; recognises that religious education is an academically rigorous subject with increasing popularity among pupils; further recognises that the rise of religious extremism around the world and in the UK means that a good understanding of all religions is vital to a well-rounded education; further notes that with the increasing emphasis on the English Baccalaureate as the primary qualification for 16-year-olds schools are more likely to focus on the core subjects which make it up; and therefore calls on the Government to recognise the importance and relevance of religious education by including it as a core subject in the English Baccalaureate.

    I agree with this 1,000%. I am an RE teacher by profession and know the positive effect it has on our students, enabling them to better understand their own lives as well as those who have different ways of understanding the world. More than any other subject it addresses the key moral, cultural and spiritual development ? essential to any rounded education ? and launches young people on a lifelong quest for meaning and truth. It develops skills in empathy and understanding so that they are able to approach people who are different in an open and appreciative way, challenging prejudice and fear of ?the other.?

    I am now an entrepreneur, director of Blue Lotus Enterprises and developing educational products and services which support school RE but take the principles of good RE into the wider society. I am aiming to get the cards I have designed, which encourage reflection, discussion and thinking skills, improving Community Cohesion as well as being great fun to play - available in every language and every country of the world!

    At a Sales Master-class last week the speaker was explaining that we need to develop the capacity to step into the shoes of our clients, to see things from their perspective and to actually ?feel their need.? Now that is a skill which is absolutely central to Religious Education ? and not taught in any other subject. So it is another excellent reason for championing RE in school and including it in the English Bacc.

    I urge you to share this letter with all your colleagues ? whatever their ?political colour? may be because it is a tremendously important thing. I understand that Mr Gove is not interested in Community Cohesion and schools will not be inspected on this any more ? which is a very serious and retrograde change. But strong RE can have a good impact on this Community Cohesion aspect of a school?s ethos and hopefully fill the gap. However, if RE is undermined by not being included in the English Bacc, there would be nothing which directly contributes to mutual respect and understanding.

    Trusting that you will share my concern and take action by supporting the Early Day Motion,

    I remain yours sincerely,

    DurgaMata Chaudhuri

    Director of Blue Lotus Enterprises

  4. Skitashi

    Skitashi New commenter

    Hi there
    My MP (Adam Afryrie) got back to me and said he would contact Michael Gove if I wanted to persue it - I got the letter today so I will reply and I urge you all to do the same.
    I think your letter is great. Personally I wouldn't put 1000% because its meaningless and I also think it would get their backs up by stating Gove is against community cohesion but thats just me!
    heres my letter and feel free to copy or criticise. In fact re-reading it I should have ended with something more punchy - a decent plenary!
    We all need to contact our MP's and get our work colleagues to do the same
    Dear Mr AfriyieI teach Religious Studies at.............. and I am concerned that RS has not been included in the EBacc list of Humanities subjects. RS is the only subject on the curriculum whereby students get the opportunity to develop an understanding of the cultural makeup of Britain and consider important issues relevant to an increasing globalised world. Students, through study, gain respect for themselves and begin to understand their own cultural identity as well as that of their fellow community members. The multidisciplinary nature of the subject, involving textual study, philosophical thinking, ethical reasoning and social understanding enable students to develop important skills of analysis and evaluation which make it a valued qualification that is necessary in 21st Century Britain. The study of RS and Philosophy at university is highly respected and without a fair reflection in secondary education this important academic institution will suffer. At a time when communities are becoming more diverse there is an even greater need for a more religiously literate and tolerant society. Religious Studies plays a key role in creating social cohesion and generating genuine understanding between communities reducing friction, intolerance and social unrest.I recognise the opportunity that the EBacc gives students, allowing them to specialise and understand the connections between important academic areas of study necessary to life – and we question the decision to leave out RS. Even though RS is currently compulsory, schools will able to marginalise the teaching in order to prioritize the subjects that will be on the EBacc.Religious Studies as a multi-faith discipline is an essential and valued subject on the curriculum, it is part of the humanities subjects and we need to ensure that schools value Religious Studies as a qualification to enable pupils to develop the unique skills that it addresses.
  5. Skitashi

    Skitashi New commenter

    It did have paragraphs honest[​IMG]
  6. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    I guess I'm just a bit miffed personally - as I spent the last two years getting up to speed on Community Cohesion so that I can offer consultancy and facilitation services in Community Cohesion as well as RE. I think it is a tremendously important subject and would make a huge difference to the lives of our pupils - and society as a whole - if the government gave it the support it needs. But while Labour made it a central part of school policy and OFSTED inspected it, the new policies are to ignore it completely -

    Of course, anything that improves the ethos of a school and makes it more cohesive is likely to impact on exam results - but that is just not enough to change the culture and attitude of our students. But since RE and Community Cohesion do overlap, I think it's a valid issue to mention when considering the position of RE in the English Bacc. If the government has reduced the status of 'com co', it can at least make sure it does not also undermine RE.

    the following quote is from a BBC site in September last year. I am sure there are more recent references. I was lined up to start an MA in Community Cohesion management in September and it has been withdrawn as local government Community Cohesion personnel who had signed up for it had their funding removed. There is a really deep gulf, not just a few cuts, when it comes to this government and Community Cohesion. They talk about the Big Society but they are actually destroying it.

    Schools in England are to be judged on just four key areas in a shake-up of the inspection system, the government has said.

    Education Secretary Michael Gove says schools will no longer be rated on "peripheral issues" - understood to include pupils' well-being and schools' contribution to "community cohesion".

    Schools will be judged on quality of teaching; leadership; pupils' behaviour and safety; and their achievements.
  7. Skitashi

    Skitashi New commenter

    Bounce to the top - please ask your MP to sign this, all will all argue RS is here to stay but it should and is needed to be included into the EBacc
    If its not included its a pretty bad scenario.... Pupils will feel they have to study it as opposed to other subjects they want to study (music drama etc) Especially in a secular school
    Unless it is included on the EBacc it won't be seen as academic enough and therefore many pupils really will resent having to study it. It really will be an uphill struggle.

  8. SteveWoodhouse

    SteveWoodhouse New commenter

    As of a few minutes ago 12 MPs have signed the EDM.

    Interstingly, support is cross-party with 4 Conservatives, 5 Labour, 2 Lib Dems and 1 Green.

    Steve Woodhouse
  9. reader42

    reader42 New commenter

    I totally agree with others who have posted here that the next step is to ask your MP to sign the EDM. It will take them only minutes and demonstrates that they really are acting on your behalf.

    NATRE received nearly 800 responses to its survey on this matter and that has made it possible to argue with evidence that this decision is already having a negative impact, not only on options for RE but also the statutory provision which the government appears to think is totally secure in all schools.

    Please can I urge you all to write now if you possibly can - it is working!
  10. Kimmy85

    Kimmy85 New commenter

    Really good news on a sad day when i have been told RE will no longer be assessed at my school at any level! GCSE, Entry levels or anything?!
  11. pete14

    pete14 New commenter

  12. Skitashi

    Skitashi New commenter

    Mine neither but his orriginal letter he sent back to me said if I wished he would pass my comments to Michael Gove which sounds positive. I have written back and asked him to sign this. Im so please you posted this was going on otherwise we wouldnt have known. Im surprised the SACRE's havent informed teachers....
  13. poppy2004

    poppy2004 New commenter

    I also recieved a positive response from my local MP so I have now asked him to sign the EDM with the following email:

    I emailed you this week about the inclusion of RE in the English Baccalauteate and I would appreciate it if you would consider signing the Early Day Motion by Stephen Lloyd. I am sure that as a representative for ****** you understand the need that such an area has for education that focuses on diversity and of religious tolerance.I currently work as head of RE & PSHCE in a school in a ****** village but have in the past worked in ****** and ******. My experiences have taught me that RE is crucial for tackling misconceptions and allowing students a safe place to ask genuine questions about religion and religious people. Without this opportunity I worry about such issues going unchallenged. Although RE is statutory we are finding that in many schools already that RE is being marginalised in favour of other subjects in the English Baccalaureate. Thankfully my school is not one of them yet. I feel strongly that RE should be included in the English Baccalaureate. My students also feel strongly about this and I would welcome you into my classroom at any point to allow you to speak to students if you wish.
    We HAVE to keep fighting this!!!

    and no - I wasn't swearing with the *******... [​IMG]
  14. ott


    Graham Brady is now added to the list! I wonder if now is the time to start naming and shaming the mps we have asked for support and not received it?
  15. Done.
    I've been a bit more specific to mine. I think it should only include GCSEs that cover more than one religion. If we are to get young people practising tolerance and understanding, I personally feel that those with a faith need to study another faith as well.
    For example, if this goes through, all the Catholic schools will be rather happy however if they just do a Catholic paper I think it defeats the object of what we are trying to do.
    Just my thoughts on the matter. I'm sure people may not agree!

  16. SteveWoodhouse

    SteveWoodhouse New commenter

    There may be some milage in that.
    A lot of people have fond memories of RS, but for those who don't they almost always cite being 'indoctrinated', particularly if they went to a Catholic school.
    Gove may feel he's given himself some wriggle room if he says he'll only accept RS GCSEs which look at at least two religions (and possibly atheist viewpoints, too). He could insist on the others being called RE rather than RS.
    Steve W
  17. poppy2004

    poppy2004 New commenter

    Well mine replied re-stating the fact that RE is statutory, blah blah blah. He obviously hasn't read a word I said...
    So I've asked him straight out to sign it

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