A school in the United Kingdom has been told to restore its religious education classes, and the campaigners who achieved the result now are turning their attention to the content in other classrooms.
According to the Christian Institute, the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education had lobbied officials at a state school in the south of England.
But local educators ignored their complaints, and the NATRE ended up writing to the nation’s secretary of education.
The teachers’ group argued that “too many teenagers are being deprived of vital knowledge about different faiths and beliefs.”
“A spokesman for NATRE said that the Department for Education ruled that the school needed to comply with its duty to provide RE lessons, and the school now offers GCSE Religious Studies,” the institute report said.
So the teachers’ group now is turning its attention toward academy schools, “where religious education is not provided in more than 40 percent of schools where there is no religious character,” the report said.
Fifteen prominent campaigners recently wrote to the Times of London newspaper, contending the lack of religious teaching in schools “represents a crisis” because the subject is “essential for all pupils.”
“It is vital that the government takes action to ensure that all pupils are able to have the education about religion and belief that they are legally entitled to,” they wrote, according to the institute.
Former Education Secretary Charles Clarke has lobbied for a nationally supported curriculum that would provide no opt-out and would be named “Religion, Beliefs and Values.”
He has issued a report that claims most people in Britain say they have no religion and that roughly equal numbers of young people have no religion as well.
But religious leaders dispute such claims.
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali and others said, in a letter to the newspaper, the 2011 census shows that 67.1 percent of the population declared some kind of religious affiliation, while only 25.7 percent said they had no religion.