English Baccalaureate hitting teaching about citizenship and beliefs

By staff writers
23 Jan 2013

A new survey by the NASUWT teaching union, released today (23 January 2013), has offered further evidence about the decline in the provision of subjects not included in the Government’s performance indicator, the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

Findings of the survey of the union's members in secondary schools indicated that, of those teachers who took part in the survey and offered a response, 90.3 per cent indicated there had been a reduction in the provision of education about religion and belief at their school since the EBacc was introduced.

94.5 per cent of teachers surveyed who offered a response also indicated that there had been a reduction in the teaching of Citizenship during this period.

In contrast to non-EBacc subjects, most teachers offering a response stated their school had increased its provision of subjects included in the performance indicator.

The survey follows on from a poll released in September 2012, by the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education, which found that since the EBacc was introduced, 24 per cent of schools had reduced their number of RE subject specialist teaching staff, compared to an increase at only 11 per cent, with 82 per cent of those schools reporting a decrease, citing the introduction of the EBacc as the primary reason.

In July 2011, the House of Commons Education Select Committee urged in its report on the English Baccalaureate that the Government review the complement of subjects in the EBacc, and consult more widely about how it can best measure students’ and schools’ performance.

The chair of the Accord Coalition for inclusive schooling, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, commented: "There has long been a fear that the EBacc would result in schools neglecting the provision of those subjects that the indicator does not assess, including RE and Citizenship, and the NASUWRT’s findings suggest these fears have become reality."

He continued: "It is vital children grow up knowing about the range of religion and beliefs held in society, partly out of general knowledge, but also as a pathway to good citizenship, so that they have the tools to better understand those from different religious and cultural backgrounds. Britain is a multi-belief society, and we do not want that to become a multi-fractious society."

"Accord therefore urges the Government to secure the provision of high quality RE and Citizenship in all state funded schools by adding RE to a flexible, but nationally prescribed curriculum, to ensure that basic standards are met. It should also heed the Education Select Committee’s advice to review the impact of the EBacc", said Dr Romain.

The Accord Coalition was launched in 2008 and brings together religious and non-religious organisations who want state funded schools to be made open and suitable to all, regardless of people or their family’s religious or non-religious beliefs. It campaigns to end religious discrimination in school staffing and admissions, and for all state maintained schools to provide Personal, Social, Health and Economic education, as well as assemblies and Religious Education that teaches about the broad range of beliefs in our increasingly diverse society.

* NASUWT: http://www.nasuwt.org.uk

* Accord Coalition: http://accordcoalition.org.uk/

* ‘An analysis of a Survey of teachers on the impact of the EBacc on student opportunity to study GCSE RS’ by the NATRE can be found at http://www.retoday.org.uk/media/display/NATRE_EBacc_Survey_2012_Final.pdf.

* The conclusions of the ‘House of Commons Education Committee: The English Baccalaureate: Fifth Report of Session 2010–12’ can be found at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmeduc/851/85....

[Ekk/3]

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