Many RE lessons simplistic and ill-informed, Ofsted report declares

Apr 19, 2024 by

by Francis Martin, Church Times:

Non-religious worldviews are not neutral, teachers are told.

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION (RE) in English schools often fails to prepare students to “live in a complex world”, a new report from Ofsted says.

The report, Deep and Meaningful? The religious education subject report, published on Wednesday, asserts that it is “simply not the case” that unbiased teaching “equates to teaching a non-religious worldview”.

The report examines the curriculum and teaching practices in a variety of schools in England. It concludes that the chief factors determining the quality of RE are not the type of school, but the strength of the teacher’s subject knowledge, regular time for RE lessons, and a “well-organised curriculum containing knowledge chosen by leaders to enable pupils to deepen their understanding term by term”.

The curriculum “rarely”, however, enables the development of such a depth of understanding, the report says, because it does not “identify clearly the suitable mix of content” which would enable pupils to “make sense of religious and non-religious traditions as they appear around the world”.

The Church of England’s chief education officer, the Revd Nigel Genders, said on Wednesday that Ofsted’s concerns “deeply resonate”.

“RE is pivotal for equipping children and young people to live in a modern diverse society,” he said. The subject was not just about knowledge, he said. “It’s about fostering respect, critical thinking, and understanding in a pluralistic world. The misconception that neutrality equals a non-religious world-view must be corrected.

Read here (£)




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