Ofsted calls for national Religious Education curriculum – to include non religious beliefs

The Daily Telegraph 16 June 2007The Daily Telegraph reports that Ofsted, the education watchdog, says that schools in many parts of the country are fuelling misguided beliefs and this poor quality religious education in schools may be breeding intolerance between faiths.

“In a report to be published tomorrow, inspectors will criticise the “patchy” standards of RE being taught in England and call for lessons to be subjected to national controls for the first time.

RE is compulsory in all schools but it is the only subject not governed by the National Curriculum. Instead, syllabuses are drawn up locally by groups of teachers and religious leaders in a move designed to reflect community diversity.

In a controversial move, Ofsted now says the model is outdated and is calling for classes to be reigned in, a recommendation strongly backed by the Church of England.

For the first time, this would ensure that all schools gave appropriate lesson time to faiths such as Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism as well as secular philosophies.

…..according to Ofsted, many religious education syllabuses do not focus strongly enough on the impact of religion in modern Britain – and may be undermining the Government’s drive to promote so-called community cohesion.

Inspectors are expected to recommend a review of the way the curriculum is currently set. One option would be creating the first National Curriculum for RE.

In 2004, a voluntary curriculum was announced by Charles Clarke, the then education secretary, but there are concerns that it has not been widely adopted.

Under the voluntary code – which may be made mandatory – Christianity is still the main religion taught in schools. However, it recommends studying the tenets of the other five main religions – Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism – up to the age of 14.

It also says pupils should able to share their own beliefs without embarrassment or ridicule. It recommends there should be opportunities to study other religious traditions such as the Baha’i faith, Jainism and Zoroastrianism, alongside secular views such as humanism.

The move is likely to be strongly resisted by local religious leaders, some of whom believe humanism has no place in RE lessons.”


2 responses to “Ofsted calls for national Religious Education curriculum – to include non religious beliefs

  1. Established 1981
    London School of Islamics
    An Educational Trust
    63 Margery Park Road London E7 9LD
    Email: info@londonschoolofislamics.org.uk
    Tel/Fax: 0208 555 2733 / 07817 112

    An Open Letter to OFSTED
    There are over half a million Muslim children in British schools where bilingualism and Islamic Identity is totally neglected. In History lessons, a Muslim contribution to European learning and culture is never mentioned. British education system has failed to meet the needs and demands of the Muslim parents. Mr. Bell wrongly expressed concern about the number of Muslim schools failing to prepare their pupils as good citizens. OFSTED never criticized state schools for the mis-education and de-education of the Muslim children. According to the educational theory, there should be a positive co-relation between schools and home; otherwise the education of the children would suffer. Learning a second language is the “alphabet of the 21st century.” People who lose their language lose their identity. The language a person speaks is part of his/her identity and culture. So learning languages means opposing racism, xenophobia and intolerance. The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) Annual Report 2003/2004 provides that education system in most European States and United Kingdom is to fail migrants and minorities.

    Muslim schools can play a vibrant part in British society. Parents have no choice in educating their children. There is a choice in health; the government is prepared to pay private providers to treat NHS parents. Why not do the same in education? Muslims feel that British society at large is hostile to their way of life. In this atmosphere, there is a growing demand for Muslim schools. Feversham state funded Muslim school now leads in academic progress in only four years. It is a faith-based school, underpinned by an Islamic ethos, which influences the quality of teaching and learning. Role models are important to motivate pupils to pursue their dreams. Such schools aid integration. Better exam results mean better jobs and a more integrated society. Majority of Muslim parents balk at the secular treatment of matters such as materialism, spirituality, sex, drugs and the treatment of other people and the environment. What would be wrong with having a state school with a Muslim ethos in areas where Muslim is in great majority? One can’t leave religious identity at the school gate. Lord Bertand Russell regards Western education as being intellectually harmful and makes a man stupid. Islamophobia is the consequence of the ignorance, the misinformation and the fears, which result from it.

    Teacher is a role model. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers. OFSTED is not suitable to inspect and passed its judgments on Muslim children and Muslim schools. Bilingual Muslim educationists should be employed for the inspection of the Muslim schools who should not only be well versed in English, Arabic or Urdu but also in Sciences and humanities subjects.
    Iftikhar Ahmad

  2. Pingback: Humanism included in online RE resources « The O Project

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