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Ekklesia believes that Beliefs and Values Education (what is currently called RE) should be part of the National Curriculum in schools - and in line with that, an element in the English Baccalaureate.
This view is shared not just by Christians, but by many people of other faiths and non-religious convictions.
Yesterday (4 May 2011), The Times newspaper published a letter from the RE.Act campaign, of which we are supporters. It reads as follows:
We believe that GCSE Religious Education (RE) will be significantly undermined if it is not included in the English Baccalaureate curriculum.
The exclusion of GCSE RE from this new gold standard curriculum will lead to fewer pupils choosing to study the subject, which will inevitably lead to a significant reduction in resource allocation including fewer specialist RE teachers and less dedicated teaching time.
RE can contribute significantly towards community cohesion, providing young people with an understanding about other faiths and cultures in an increasingly plural society.
We call on the Secretary of State for Education to reconside this decision and to include GCSE RE in the English Baccalaureate curriculum.
Peter Kerridge, Premier Christian Media Group
Eric Thompson, Director, Deo Gloria Trust
Prof Trevor Cooling, National Instute for Christian Education Research
Dr Hojjat Ramazy, Vive-chair of the Muslim Council of Britain's Education Committee
Bharti Tailor, Secretary General, Hundu Forum of Britain
Steve Clifford, General Director, Evangelical Alliance
Nola Leach, Chief Executive, Care
Dr Joe Aldred, Minority Ethnic Affairs, Churches Together in England
G P Taylor, author and vicar
Simon Barrow, Co-director, Ekklesia
Prof Bill Moyle, Chair of Educational Assessment, School of Education, University of Manchester
Our statement about the campaign is here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/14607
RE.Act's website and petition is here: http://www.reactcampaign.co.uk/
See also: 'Cameron, "multiculturalism" and education about religions and beliefs', by Robert Jackson, Professor of Education at the University of Warwick and Director of Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/14271), and: 'Education about beliefs "vital" for a plural society', Ekklesia press release (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/14286).
The Accord Coalition, of which we are founder members, also campaigns for a reformed RE as part of the national curriculum - with religious foundation ('faith') schools, along with others, accountable for providing a fair and balanced education on beliefs and values. http://accordcoalition.org.uk/Tweet