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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

Religious Education Parliamentary Group welcomes Ofsted Report

October 14, 2013 12:29 PM

On Sunday, Ofsted released a report charging the Department of Education and Schools of failing their provision of Religious Education.

In the report, Religious education: realising the potential, Ofsted inspectors found that of those examined, 6 out of 10 schools failed to recognise the subject's full potential. They identified that Religious Education promotes respect and empathy with other cultures, and is critical to students' academic and personal growth. Having an understanding and tolerance of all faiths is growing ever more necessary as globalisation continues to bring the world closer together.

The report finds low standards; weak teaching; a confused sense of purpose of what religious education is about; training gaps; and weaknesses in the way religious education is examined.

The Religious Education All Party Parliamentary Group was formed in 2010 and has been campaigning for RE to be recognised for the importance it has in a student's growth. It previously held an enquiry and published a report, RE: the Truth Unmasked, with conclusions that were very similar to those of the Ofsted report - finding that RE is underappreciated and failing at the majority of Schools.

Following the Ofsted report, Stephen Lloyd MP, Chair of the APPG, said: 'This proves exactly what my colleagues and I in the All Party Parliamentary Group on Religious Education said would happen. Despite our constant representations, for the last 2 years the Secretary of State has refused to believe that Religious Education provision in schools is failing and needs to be improved. The Parliamentary Group has been campaigning to ensure that students leave school with an understanding of people of all faiths, including those with none, which we believe is essential to promoting tolerance and understanding in our modern, globalised world. Clearly the Ofsted report shows that we were right and the Department for Education have been wrong. I hope Michael Gove will now take on board the robust, detailed evidence that our report provided, so together we can ensure that children receive a solid grounding in all the world's religions and belief systems.

Michael Cladingbowl, Ofsted's Director of Schools, said: 'Religious education in schools matters. It develops children's understanding of belief and the world in which we live. At its best, it encourages children and young people to extend their natural curiosity and prepares them for life in modern society. We saw some great examples of this during the survey, but too often we found religious education lessons being squeezed out by other subjects and children and young people leaving school with little knowledge or understanding of different religions'