News from Europe

Religious education in the UK will undergo significant remodelling

Following Ofsted's request to provide more depth and clarity, the Religious Education Council of England and Wales has introduced a creative 'toolkit'.

The toolkit has been introduced as a solution after a three-year initiative called Religion and worldviews in the classroom based on significant academic research, classroom perception and proposals from the 2018 Commission on Religious Education report. The new strategy is to enhance religious education in line with modern practices and diversity in Britain.

The project aims to restore religious education in England, encouraging a profound engagement with religion and belief systems among students.

Devoted Christian and Deputy Chair of the Religious Education Council, Ed Pawson, stated: “In some ways this new approach is making it a bit more complex but also making it much more relevant to individual learners. You often get children who come into the classroom and say ‘I’m not religious, I won’t learn anything in here’. Every child should be learning in every classroom. A mature RE classroom actually, in part, begins with where the learner is, and values the fact that every learner has a stake in the subject.”

Sarah Lane Cawte, Chair of the Religious Education Council, highlighted the importance of the toolkit: “This is a major project that reflects a broad consensus across the Religious Education community to help all schools deliver a personally enriching and academically challenging religious education.”

Professor Trevor Cooling, leader of the academic work of the project, described its benefits in more detail: “This scholarly approach to the study of religious education allows pupils to develop substantive knowledge of religion, religious and non-religious worldviews… It builds on research literature over many years into effective approaches to create one that is fit for purpose in the 21st century.”

Fiona Moss, CEO of the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education also acclaimed the toolkit: “These curriculum resources build on the many examples of what good Religious Education looks like and what many teachers are currently practising in classrooms across the country.”

Religious education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, matters of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It evolves students’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other religions. It also offers a chance for personal reflection and spiritual development.


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