Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “NAHT welcomes the report of the Commission on Religious Education (CoRE) and the opportunity it provides to promote and develop the subject for the 21st century, preparing children and young people for their lives beyond school.
“A change of name to ‘Religion and Worldviews’ shows that this is a broader subject than the study of religion; it is about the different ways that people see and make sense of the world.
“In our responses to CoRE’s consultations NAHT said that the right approach would be the development of a national programme of study so we are pleased that they recommend that non-statutory programmes of study for each of Key Stages 1–4 should be developed at a national level.
“It is disappointing that the Commission could not recommend the removal of the right to withdraw at the current time, however, if the other recommendations regarding “Religion and Worldviews” are taken up, NAHT will make the case that there would be no need for a right to withdrawal from it.
“Current accountability measures, like the EBacc, are having a detrimental effect on RE and must be reviewed by the DfE. But we would question the Commission’ recommendations around Ofsted – there are limitations to inspection as a form of accountability. There is a need for a positive approach to accountability, one focussed on improvement rather than one that is punitive and sanction-driven. Any form of accountability or monitoring, whether from peers, SACREs or Ofsted should be focussed on identifying how schools can be helped to improve their provision. These monitoring bodies should be able to offer solutions, support and additional resources which may be needed by schools on their path to improvement.”
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