Ofsted, the official body for inspecting schools, has released a highly critical report on the provision of religious education in schools. Based on research carried out at 185 schools between 2009 and 2012, the report identifies eight major weaknesses, including low standards, weak teaching and confusion about the purpose of religious education.
Arguably its most politically significant finding is that the recent introduction of the English Baccalaureate, by failing to include religious education, has further marginalised the subject.
As the Guardian reports, the Church of England has responded to the report by launching a fierce attack on the government, describing limited resources devoted to training religious education teachers as a scandal that is affecting ‘an essential part’ of every child’s studies. The National Secular Society has welcomed the report, but has warned that Ofsted’s recommendations do not go far enough and need to be clearer about avoiding evangelism in lessons.