Religious Education Council of England & Wales

Hillgate House
26 Old Bailey
London  EC4M 7HQ

Working together to strengthen the provision of religious education in schools, colleges and universities.

24th January 2011   

Dear Headteacher,

The vitality of Religious Education

The matter of religion is a hard case to fathom. Whether in the past or present in its name much goodness has been generated, but so has destruction. Beliefs can be divisive as well as enriching. The challenge therefore in education is to enable young people to understand the world views of others as well as their own and to be discerning in ways that go beyond surface meanings.

As a Council we come together as some fifty or so national organisations – academic and professional associations concerned with religion in education as well as individual faith communities and the humanists – to find ways and means of assisting with this challenge. Accordingly, against this background and that of projected change in curriculum structures, it has seemed sensible to send out this message of encouragement.

There are three related items of good news:

The first is that in the midst of the uncertainties about the new curriculum, the Secretary of State has now reiterated that the Coalition Government is committed to RE provision remaining statutory to learning in all types of school up to the age of nineteen. At KS4 discussions continue as to whether its GCSE will be within or alongside the English Baccalaureate.

Secondly, opportunity to display and observe the fruits of good RE throughout England and Wales will be provided during March as part of the National Celebration of RE. The Celebration is being given a cross party launch within the House of Commons led by Baroness Warsi, Jack Straw and Sir Alan Beith. If you would like to attend, please send an email to the address above and we will arrange for you to be sent an invitation. Since the number of available places is limited, this will be done on a first come, first served basis.  For details of the many other events, local, regional and national, see:

Thirdly, your school may already be participating in another RE Council programme, REsilience, which provides an opportunity to review how your school's RE can mesh with 'big society' priorities.  If not, there is still a bit of time to take advantage of the funding, which remains in place until 31 March 2011: see

Yours sincerely,

Brian Gates


Religious Education Council of England & Wales
Prof Brian Gates  Deputy Chair Dr Joyce Miller Treasurer Prof Trevor Cooling Secretary: Deborah Weston

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