Religious Education is a legal right in state sector schools and schools have a duty to include it in the curriculum. However it is not listed as a Humanity in the proposed English Baccalaureate, and there is evidence that schools are increasingly dropping RE to make time for other subjects.
Why R E ?
Teaching religious belief - chracterised (often unfairly) as 'indoctrination' or 'proslytisation' - is not the role of the state. But teaching about religions may well be. Understanding the beliefs and motivations of other people is an important part of the process of growth and development, and RE provides the opportunity for children and young people to consider (amongst many other issues);
the meaning of life
suffering, evil and injustice
tolerance and respect
ethics and morality
The Christian Church does not have any kind of monopoly on these subjects, and neither does any other faith. In one way or another they are important to anyone trying to understand the world, regardless of their personal faith affiliation - if any.
Space in the syllabus for these subjects could be lost under current government proposals, and already teacher training courses are closing and resources for teachers are being eroded. However there is time to reverse this.
revised 8 April 2012