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RE - how is it done in your DC's school?

(51 Posts)
preswim Sun 23-Feb-14 10:18:01

I've just been reading the RE Council's recent Review of Religious Education in England, which gives updated guidelines for a National Framework for RE.

Although RE is a compulsory subject, it's not part of the National Curriculum, so schools are free to follow their own syllabus. Faith schools usually follow a syllabus defined by their Diocesan Authorities, and Community Schools tend to use one created by a Local Authority committee (the SACRE). My understanding is that in both cases the National Framework is sometimes followed, and sometimes not.

The Framework is designed for all types of school, giving plenty of room for tailoring to a particular school's requirements. It recognises that in some schools "there is likely to be an aspiration that RE ... will contribute to pupils’ faith development". However, it's also designed to be inclusive, so that all major religions and non-religious world views are recognised, discussed, compared and contrasted.

Some people think that the Framework should be statutory, and I do too. Anyone disagree? If so, I'd be interested to hear why.

If it was made statutory, would it mean any big changes for your DC's RE curriculum?

TalkinPeace Sun 23-Feb-14 11:59:47

DCs school allows the opt out as part of KS4 options.
2/3 of kids - including mine - take it

preswim Sun 23-Feb-14 12:31:00

Hi Talkinpeace. Do you mean 2/3 of kids take RE as an option, or 2/3 opt out of it as an option?

The National Curriculum still mandates the teaching of RE at KS4, but it doesn't have to be taken as an exam option.

If they don't take it as an option, do they still have to have RE lessons at your DC's school?

Some schools mandate RE as an option.

TalkinPeace Sun 23-Feb-14 12:34:26

RE is on the options form : some do it as GCSE
the others do not do it at all and sign the declaration to that effect
that timetable slot is filled with other things

preswim Sun 23-Feb-14 12:41:49

"the others do not do it at all and sign the declaration to that effect"

Interesting. Presumably their parents have to sign it, yes? Students can't withdraw themselves until they're 18.

Is that what happens systematically in all schools where RE isn't a compulsory KS4 option? Makes sense, but just wondering how widespread it is.

PotteringAlong Sun 23-Feb-14 12:47:10

I am head of RE in a comprehensive in the north of England.

We roughly follow the agreed syllabus for our local area, basing key stage 3 on the big questions they ask in the AS.

At key stage 4 we do compulsary full course RE for every pupil. It's not a faith school but is very well regarded and I've never had anyone opt out - and that includes pupils who were practicing Jehovah's witnesses whom you would normally expect to do so.

I like that it's not part of the national curriculum - there's lots of regional variations in terms of faith and belief and it's nice to be able to respond to that at a local and individual school level.

GretaWolfcastle Sun 23-Feb-14 12:49:23

the thing most parents dont get is that KIDS LOVE IT!

its so different from RS of yesteryear

GretaWolfcastle Sun 23-Feb-14 12:50:02

RS and History - the subjects parents get most aerated about, oddly

and Gove too

preswim Sun 23-Feb-14 12:55:20

"there's lots of regional variations in terms of faith and belief and it's nice to be able to respond to that at a local and individual school level."

Pottering, is there anything in the National Framework that would prevent that variation? It seems like a fairly loose framework to me, (but I'm reading it as a parent rather than as a teacher).

preswim Sun 23-Feb-14 12:57:44

"the thing most parents dont get is that KIDS LOVE IT"

I agree kids love it if its done well, and gives them freedom to voice their opinions, and acknowledge their own beliefs. I think that happens in many schools, but not all (hence the need for a framework).

GretaWolfcastle Sun 23-Feb-14 12:58:17

it aint broke - dont fix it , attitude here

PotteringAlong Sun 23-Feb-14 13:08:21

Greta, absolutely!

preswim Sun 23-Feb-14 13:09:43

"it aint broke - dont fix it"

Clearly it isn't in your school, which is good to hear. But presumably you don't have a national picture.

What about others?

TalkinPeace Sun 23-Feb-14 14:54:06

the parents sign the options form : as I assume they do in all schools for all options

RE is irrelevant to my family : we are a radio 4 / private Eye / economist / new scientist / BBC news - household

random words in an old book are not the issue

LordPalmerston Sun 23-Feb-14 15:02:53

And nothing on radio 4 ever requires any idea of education .. ;). Like er ... The news?!

TalkinPeace Sun 23-Feb-14 15:04:26

?
we get our "RE" outside school (as is the norm in OECD countries) rather than inside
in our case its deep cynicism

PotteringAlong Sun 23-Feb-14 15:10:33

But RE isn't irrelevant to your family as I'm assuming you live in a world where moral decisions are to be made and, rightly or wrongly, people make those decisions based upon their own personal beliefs, whatever they may be.

TalkinPeace Sun 23-Feb-14 15:17:19

pottering
morality and religion are not in any way linked

I do the right thing by people because its the right thing
not cos some beardy bloke is looking over my shoulder

the way the world works does not need a god
religious bigotry has created much of the unhappiness / strife in the world today

science, observation and simple altruism do it for me
I do not need theology
and both of my children actively chose against theology in year 4 but had to tolerate lots more of it

on the up side, to get RE past secular audiences it is more inventive, but still irrelevant

preswim Sun 23-Feb-14 15:23:34

Talkinpeace, what was RE like when you were at school?

I think RE, done well, has value in teaching about different heritages and common/different values. It wasn't done well when I was at school, and I hated it because I felt it presented a narrow view of the world and wasn't relevant to me.

As its compulsory, I think there should be a statutory framework to make sure it meets everyone's needs.

For instance, at my DCs primary school they learn about 5 world religions, which is great, but they don't learn about non-religious belief systems.

MoreCrackThanHarlem Sun 23-Feb-14 15:27:34

My dd is on the ebacc pathway for GCSE and as such has to choose a language, a humanity and 3 other options.

As RE is not classed as a humanity she has to take history, which she dislikes, and choose RE as one of her free choices.

I would have preferred it if she were able to take RE as her 'humanity' and still be left with her three options. As it is, if she takes RE she will have to drop Sociology or Music.

MoreCrackThanHarlem Sun 23-Feb-14 15:29:27

She loves RE, btw.
It is split into Islam and Christian Ethics, with one lesson a week on each.
The children who don't take it get a small amount in their PSHE lesson. As an academy, they make their own rules.

TalkinPeace Sun 23-Feb-14 15:47:43

preswim
RE is an irrelevance
DD chose latin over RE
DS will choose astronomy

call the curriculum what you like its a 2000 year old book of dubious origin with no relevance to today
my school RE teacher was a paedo who got one of the girls pregnant
but I was an atheist before that

FWIW
I totally and utterly support compulsory RE till year 9
its the best method of creating atheists yet invented grin

LordPalmerston Sun 23-Feb-14 15:51:38

RE is NOT just about the Bible at most schools

Its like saying " she wont do French - she is never going to France, we dont believe in France"

preswim Sun 23-Feb-14 15:51:40

Yes morecrack. A lot of people think RE should be an ebacc option. If its status was raised in that way then I think that would make a statutory national framework even more important. Maybe both things will happen at once. I expect that's what the RE council wants.

TalkinPeace Sun 23-Feb-14 15:54:39

Lordpalmersto
find me the religion that is not based on an old book

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