Press release: NATRE response to the report of the Commission on RE

Commission on Religious Education Final Report

Religions and Worldviews: The way forward

A National Plan for RE

A response from NATRE

The long-awaited final report of the 14-member independent Commission on RE, published on Sunday, sets out a vision for a National Entitlement for all children in all state funded schools.

Ben Wood, Chair of The National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) commented:

“Over the last three years, NATRE has argued for a statement of national entitlement, so we are pleased to see that this forms part of the Commission’s recommendations. The Commission’s entitlement statement is bold and seeks to reshape the subject in a new way. This will no doubt elicit much debate.”

The proposed change in the name of the subject from Religious Education to Religion and Worldviews, is perhaps the most eye-catching of the Commission’s recommendations, but NATRE believes the recommendations focusing on the purpose and content of study are much more significant, and it is in these areas that teachers will look to engage in discussion and debate. Commenting on this aspect of the report, Mr Wood points out that the inclusion of non-religious worldviews is not a new development;

“The Commission’s call for a more clearly identified place for study of non-religious worldviews, as well as its recognition of the importance of studying both institutionalised worldviews and personal autonomy, reflects current practice in many schools where RE is taught well, and is a feature of most locally agreed syllabuses.

It is essential in a subject called Religion and Worldviews, that pupils engage with the religions and worldviews in a study of, what the Commission describes as, ‘institutional worldviews’ and ‘personal worldviews’, thus coming to understand the diversity of practice, belief, value and commitment.”

The report from the Commission also calls on the Government to provide legal clarification on the right of withdrawal. NATRE has been working closely with Teacher Unions and others on this matter. Mr Wood explains;

The Commission makes a sensible recommendation concerning the right of withdrawal. The right of withdrawal is being abused and used in a way that runs opposite to the intentions of the government in promoting a cohesive society. This recommendation should be acted upon quickly by the Department for Education in a way that both supports the government’s priorities and ensures that all pupils are given the right to learn about the religions and worldviews that are so influential in our society.”

Mr Wood concludes:

“NATRE is looking forward to working positively with our partners for the benefit of pupils in all kinds of schools. We believe the voice of teachers now becomes especially important in taking our subject forward. Teachers must be involved at the centre of debates and discussions about the direction of the subject, both in considering the nature and purpose of the subject, and in effectively designing and implementing new programmes of study.”

For media enquiries, contact:

Mubina Khan-Daniels, RE Today Services

Tel: 0121 415 3970 / 0121 458 3313


National Association of Teachers of RE

NATRE is the subject teacher association for RE professionals in primary and secondary schools and higher education, providing a representative voice at national level and publications and courses to promote professional development. NATRE’s Executive consists of a majority of serving teachers from primary and secondary schools who are elected for a three-year term of service.

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