Meeting of REC Officers with Nick Gibb Minister for Schools 19 May 2011

At their meeting with the Minister, Brian Gates, John Keast and Deborah Weston pressed the unintended negative effects on RE arising from the education policy being pursued by the government. These include the impact of

  • EBacc proposals on GCSE provision in RE and related specialist staffing
  • LA support for SACREs
  • Education and training in the subject in ITT and CPD.

Nick Gibb repeated that the government is determined to support RE as it does ‘Faith Schools’, and that it will remain statutory. In response to present evidence of non-compliance, he stated that he expected Ofsted to identify this as part of its monitoring of school management.

Pressed as to what further he might do to support RE, he said he would:

  • look again at the possibility of adding RS to the EBacc Humanities options of History and Geography with the requirement that any two might be studied
  • reflect further on the desirability of developing a new National Framework for RE, with comparable backing from faith communities, professional and academic associations which would be relevant across all schools, colleges, and academies
  • give consideration to the feasibility of SACREs being a source of support for Academies and Free Schools  as well as for LA maintained schools
  • meet again with REC officers in early September.

The leaflet Why animation regarding RE and the EBacc is the tip of a dangerous iceberg was given to the Minister as a reminder of the extent of the challenges currently facing RE.