The British Humanist Association has given a partial welcome to new government guidance on Religious Education in schools in England and Wales, including a new primary curriculum. The new guidance has been produced after a long public consultation and has made several significant changes in official advice.
BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said, ‘We welcome the fact that the government, along with all those RE professionals involved in producing the new primary curriculum, has once again affirmed that RE is about non-religious worldviews like Humanism as well as about religions.’
The new guidance makes it clear that the co-option of humanists onto SACREs – the local committees that oversee RE in a local authority area – is a practice which helps to improve the quality of RE. It has also removed a previous prohibition on humanists being appointed as full members of SACRES, which had previously prevented many SACREs from making such appointments.
‘We now hope,’ Mr Copson continued, ‘that more and more SACREs and local authorities will see the benefit of appointing humanists as full members. It is unfortunate that the guidance itself has not caught up with the practice of increasing numbers of SACREs and local authorities that are appointing humanists as full members and positively advised that they should do so. Equally, it does not prevent SACREs that wish to promote good RE from making humanists full members which, many of them have accepted, the Human Rights Act has made it possible for them to do.’