The Commission on Religious Education has today published its Final Report.  It sets out a vision for change for Religious Education (RE) in England and presents a national plan for RE consisting of 11 recommendations which it believes would help to secure the future of high-quality RE for all pupils in all schools if implemented.

The recommendations are built around a proposal for a National Entitlement setting out what it is that all pupils should be learning in RE.

The report is the result of two years of work by the Commission on Religious Education and follows on from the publication of their interim report Religious Education for All published in September 2017.  In compiling their final report, the commissioners drew on almost 700 detailed responses to a consultation on the interim report from across the range of stakeholders in religious education.  The interim report had itself drawn on over 2,000 responses to a call for evidence, the findings of five regional evidence gathering sessions, and a range of school visits and listening events.

The Commission on Religious Education was established in 2016 by the RE Council.  It was given a remit to review the education, policy, and legal frameworks for RE in England and to make recommendations to ensure the highest quality provision of RE.  The Commission is editorially independent of the RE Council: the Commission, and not the RE Council, is entirely responsible for the report and recommendations.

Comment from Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, Chief Executive of the Religious Education Council:

This report’s recommendations give us a chance to secure the future of religious education.  This chance can’t come soon enough following last month’s dramatic drops in exam entries for Religious Studies of over 20% at A-level and over 10% at GCSE.  If we don’t grasp this opportunity we risk the subject dying in many schools.  If we let that happen we would be failing our young people and putting society in danger of greater misunderstanding and mistrust between people with different religious and non-religious identities.  The Commission on Religious Education has produced an ambitious vision for the future of Religious Education in England that could mark the most significant developments in the subject in over 40 years.  The report gives a compelling explanation of why it is essential for all pupils in all schools to have a rigorous and academic education about a range of religious and non-religious worldviews.  The proposal for a National Entitlement for all pupils alongside the freedom for different groups to develop their own programmes of study provides an approach that respects the autonomy of schools over the character of their religious education while ensuring that no pupils miss out on core elements of essential study about religion and belief.  I look forward to discussing the report with members of the RE Council.  I hope that the Government will work closely with the RE Council to determine how best to build on the recommendations so that we can ensure all pupils have the high-quality education about religion and worldviews that is necessary to prepare them for life in modern Britain.

The REC’s press release is available here: Press release on publication of CoRE

The Final Report from the Commission on RE can be downloaded from their website.