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MPs form parliamentary group to support RE

17/02/2012 Joanna
A new organisation has been created by MPs and faith groups with the aim of protecting religious education in English schools.

With the backing of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, the all party parliamentary group (APPG) will promote RE, saying that it should be considered a priority in education policy.

It comes after a motion carried in parliament last year to include the GCSE within the new English Baccalaureate attracted the signatures of 115 MPs.

The subject does not feature within the EBacc, but a government spokesperson welcomed the creation of the new APPG while saying that the EBacc would not stop schools from offering RE as a GCSE.

Promoting the interests of people in religious education teaching jobs, Stephen Lloyd MP will chair the APPG and believes it will offer great insight into the importance of the subject.

"In today's world where our children can be open to an enormous amount of misleading information I believe it is absolutely essential they are taught about different cultures and religions by trained, experienced RE teachers," he said.

It was Mr Lloyd who tabled the religious education early day motion last year after the decision was made to omit the subject from the EBacc.

One of a raft of reforms introduced by education secretary Michael Gove, the EBacc is awarded to GCSE students who achieve a C or above in English, maths, science, a language and a humanities subject.

The APPG could now lobby to have RE added to history and geography in the humanities field, the BBC reported.

Commenting on the formation of the group, John Keast, chair of The Religious Education Council of England and Wales, said that it was an important step towards advancing the subject's profile in Westminster.

"The coalition government is making policy decisions about academies, the national curriculum, qualifications and even teacher training provision," he said.

"Directly or indirectly, all these will challenge how RE is taught to young people."

Posted by Charlotte MichaelsADNFCR-2164-ID-801295761-ADNFCR
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