The Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) has published a new framework for how staff in teacher jobs can improve religious education (RE) in their schools.
Earlier this month, Ofsted published a report indicating teaching and attainment in the subject was worse than good in six out of ten schools across the country, due to factors such as low standards and confusion over the purpose of RE.
Last year, the REC itself began an 18-month review - with the government's support - into how the apparent decline in RE can be reversed.
It has now published a framework developed as part of the review, indicating how the subject could be better prioritised and taught from the early years foundation stage through to post-16 education.
This framework is designed to furnish children with a robust core knowledge of religions and world views through varied experiences, approaches and disciplines.
It also aims to supply them with skills to interpret and make sense of religion and belief, reflect on and express their own and others' ideas with clarity, and respond to religions and world views in an informed, rational and insightful way.
REC chair John Keast explained: "In recent years RE has fallen into a vacuum.
"Falling back on the safety net of statutory provision is not enough to ensure consistent high standards, strong teaching, adequate examination provision and clarity on what the subject covers. Having a thoroughly reconsidered national curriculum framework is a means of changing both practice and attitudes to RE."
The framework is designed to operate in tandem with the new national curriculum and function as a national benchmark, granting local authorities, academies and faith groups flexibility to adapt what is taught in RE lessons.
It does not advocate that the status of the subject be changed, but instead calls for an open discussion on how best to provide good quality RE locally and nationally in the 21st century.
Moreover, in addition to the new framework, the REC's review has highlighted the need for greater emphasis to be placed on ensuring there are sufficient properly trained RE teaching staff in the nation's classrooms.
Posted by Harriet McGowan