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More than half of schools fail pupils on religious education

A damning report published today by the schools inspectorate, Ofsted, highlights how schools and the government have failed to focus effectively on religious education.

The report, ‘Religious education: realising the potential’, finds low standards; weak teaching; a confused sense of purpose of what religious education is about; training gaps; and weaknesses in the way religious education is examined. It also highlights how six out of ten schools examined on the quality of their religious education teaching, are failing to realise the subject’s full potential.

Religious education makes an important contribution to pupils’ development, both personal and academic. It does so by promoting respect and empathy, which are increasingly important in an ever more globalised and multicultural 21st century. While inspectors identified examples of good practice they found that six out of ten schools examined in this report failed to realise the subject’s full potential.

Among the recommendations, Ofsted says there is an urgent need for the government to help teachers by clarifying the purpose and aims of religious education, and to promote these through lucid guidance.