Birmingham goes out on a dodgy limb over its RE teaching

(4 Posts)
hamburgercheeseburger Thu 12-Jun-14 19:42:32

I find this pretty shocking: https://humanism.org.uk/2014/06/12/birmingham-taxpayers-money-used-council-urge-systematic-discrimination-non-religious-re/

In summary, the committee that sets the RE syllabus for Birmingham community schools is trying to block Government guidance to include non-religious viewpoints, and is encouraging other areas to do the same.

hamburgercheeseburger Fri 13-Jun-14 11:08:35

Just a bit of background to put this story into context ...

RE is unique because it is compulsory, but has no national curriculum. Some people think it should have a National Curriculum, but the nearest thing to that at the moment is the Non-Statutory National Framework for RE, first published in 2004, and more recent advice from the Religious Education Council for England and Wales following a comprehensive review. Both of those say that RE should include study of non-religious world views.

Faith schools usually use a curriculum set by their Diocesan Authority or equivalent, whereas Community schools usually use a curriculum set by a Local Authority committee, called the SACRE. Most SACREs follow the non-statutory national advice.

It is the Birmingham SACRE that is the subject of the story. They want to ignore the advice in the National Framework and remove any acknowledgement of non-religious values from the RE curriculum. They also won't allow any non-religious representation on their committee. They are encouraging other SACREs to go down the same route.

As a parent, I think that stinks. I want my child to grow up learning about the major world religions, but also to understand that many non-religious people also have strong values, many of which are similar to those with faith.

Madrigals Sat 14-Jun-14 20:37:59

I think they should be including non religious viewpoints. We have very strong values in our household, but they are not based on any faith. Why shouldn't this be taught as a valid path?

tiggytape Sat 14-Jun-14 23:28:27

Of course non religious viewpoints need to be taught otherwise the lesson would be that people of no faith are people of no beliefs or moral values.
That of course is grossly unfair and completely untrue.

It also creates a prejudice against people of no faith that their views are not worth exploring or understanding when they themselves are expected to (and do) rshow tolerance and respect for religious people. It is all one way.

And finally, given that many people in this country live by beliefs that are not founded in a faith, it also puts those school children at a disadvantage in life if they grow up not understanding a sizeable section of society and not being exposed to ideas that differ greatly from their own. It doesn't undermine anyone's faith to learn about other people and their beliefs and to be taught to be respectful and understanding.

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