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Source: (consider it) Thread: Should RE be expunged from the EBac?
leo
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Religious Education in secondary schools is facing its biggest threat for twenty-three years. Education minister Michael Gove is introducing an English Baccalaureate whose humanities component includes History or Geography but has excluded RE.

RE will cease to be important in the eyes of pupils as schools will steer them away beause it will no longer contribute to league tables.

RE has much to contribute to ‘the big society’ as it raises moral issues and encourages social cohesion.

In 1988, Kenneth Baker sidelined RE but a concerted campaign led to the raising of its profile. It has become the fastest growing GCSE subject. All this work will be undone at the stroke of a pen so it is to be hoped that Mr. Gove may be urged to think again.

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Emma Louise

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Will they replace it with philosophy and ethics or is that going too? It was one of the most popular (non maths/english/science) subjects at one of the schools I taught in.
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Anglican't
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I went to secondary school from 1992-1999. During that time RE, when it was taught, was barely worth the name since it had very little, if any, religious content to it. If my experience is a common one, then killing off the whole thing would only make official what is already happening in practice. I would argue, though, that proper religious instruction should be in the curriculum.
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ianjmatt
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I think that the EBac is a great idea. It is right that it should be restricted to English, Maths, 2 sciences, a language and either history or geography. They are the core subjects that every 16 year old should be getting. RE is not essential in the same way, which is why it isn't included. If parents want RE for their kids, send them to a school that will do it.

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leo
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RE nor essential? 'In the light of the global political situation, surely the objective study of religious issues should be encouraged’ Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders

A recent poll among 18 to-25- year-olds revealed that RE lessons were remembered as valuable for several years after leaving school.

The Bishop of Oxford: Commitment to religious education by schools is crucial to interfaith understanding and harmonious relations between people of different religious backgrounds. It is also essential to young people’s personal development, enabling them to work out their beliefs and the values they will take into adult life.

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews: Religious studies has proven itself to be a valuable contribution to the academic curriculum, teaching students to respect themselves and others and, importantly, build identities which contribute favourably to all areas of society. The multi-disciplinary nature of the subject, involving textual study, philosophical thinking, ethics, social understanding and the skills of analysis and reasoning, develops critical thinkers.

Dr Hojjat Ramzy, vice-chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain's education committee: given the challenge posed by Islamophobia.....In our ever-growing multi-cultural and multi-faith society, it's very important that people, especially the younger generation, are aware of the religions and cultures of others.

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, the Oxford church historian who presented the BBC series A History of Christianity: Religion matters to most human beings in the world today," he added. "To leave religion to the religious extremists, outside a good education system, is to distort it.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by ianjmatt:
core subjects that every 16 year old should be getting. RE is not essential in the same way,

So can you tell me why biblical Hebrew and ancient Greek are in the Bac but Urdu isn't? What sort of world is Gove living in? Eton, I suspect.

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leo
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Oh - and why aren't computer studies, engineering or business studies considered essential?

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Emma Louise:
Will they replace it with philosophy and ethics or is that going too? It was one of the most popular (non maths/english/science) subjects at one of the schools I taught in.

No philosophy nor ethics.

Tories don't want people to think for themselves or ask awkward questions.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by ianjmatt:
2 sciences

Only ONE science in the Bac.

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Emma Louise

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[Ultra confused]
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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
I went to secondary school from 1992-1999. During that time RE, when it was taught, was barely worth the name since it had very little, if any, religious content to it. If my experience is a common one, then killing off the whole thing would only make official what is already happening in practice. I would argue, though, that proper religious instruction should be in the curriculum.

You shouldn't generalise from your experience in ONE school. In my teaching of RE since 1974, a rigorous knowledge of 6 major world religions has been the cornerstone in the four schools i have worked in and the Agreed Syllabusses of two local authorities I have worked in.

What do you mean by 'proper religious instruction'? The term has overtones of indoctrination and is out of place in a multi-faith and partly secular society.

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les@BALM
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I have taught RE in an Comprehensive school. I favour the return of Humanities with a thematic approach and RE being a part of the curriculum.

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coniunx
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Just to be clear on this: as I understand it, RE isn't in the eBac as it stands anyway: the only things which qualify for the 'Humanities' element are History, Ancient History and Geography.

There's quite a good argument that RE is just as much a humanity, and that it has as high a relevance in the modern world - at least as high a relevance as ancient history - especially given the centrality of certain approaches in Islamic teaching to current affairs; but it's not in there at present.

Requests have been made to Government to consider this, but they aren't interested; a rather senior local Conservative MP, approached on this, has said they don't want to be seen to do anything which might give faith schools an advantage (which is a slightly odd argument, given that in general faith schools are outperforming the pack on EBac results by a considerable amount anyway).

What is under discussion, apparently, is the removal of RE from the required subjects under the National Curriculum, which is a quite different matter.

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oldandrew
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It is hard to see why RE would be included when the RE GCSEs are pick and mix qualifications with very little rigour, where it is entirely optional whether anything is covered deeply or intelligently.

If I remember correctly, the last time we discussed RE teaching on here, some RE teachers popped up to explain how they didn't believe in teaching "facts" or anything like that, and it was all about expressing opinions and believing that all opinions were equal.

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Ricardus
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Am I right in thinking that unlike history and geography, RE has no national syllabus unless you're planning to sit a GCSE in it (in which case the syllabus consists of knowing what's on the exam)?

Pace both Anglican't and leo, RE at my school covered Christianity (Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox) quite extensively, Islam and Judaism very superficially, and added a few bits of philosophy and ethics. However, AIUI there was nothing to stop them filling it full of fluffiness as Anglican't describes.
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
So can you tell me why biblical Hebrew and ancient Greek are in the Bac but Urdu isn't?

Urdu is an option - see here.

The really bizarre omission is IT, because IME if employers care about what specific GCSEs anyone has, they're most likely to be looking for English, Maths, and / or IT.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Am I right in thinking that unlike history and geography, RE has no national syllabus unless you're planning to sit a GCSE in it (in which case the syllabus consists of knowing what's on the exam)?

Pace both Anglican't and leo, RE at my school covered Christianity (Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox) quite extensively, Islam and Judaism very superficially, and added a few bits of philosophy and ethics. However, AIUI there was nothing to stop them filling it full of fluffiness as Anglican't describes.
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
So can you tell me why biblical Hebrew and ancient Greek are in the Bac but Urdu isn't?

Urdu is an option - see here.

The really bizarre omission is IT, because IME if employers care about what specific GCSEs anyone has, they're most likely to be looking for English, Maths, and / or IT.

Urdu isn't on your link - please clarify.

The reason why RE hasn't a national syllabus is historical - goes back to the 1944 Act and it is locally determined. I have sat on local syllabus groups for the past 33 years and can assure you that they are rigorous - probably more so that National Curriculum syllabuses - the latter were mostly drawn up over two weekends in an hotel after Baker's 1988 Act whereas we meet every 6 weeks and revise/renew/alter our syllabuses every 5 years.

Furthermore, following extensive observations by OFSTED, we had a national framework and a national strategy which lays down the content which must be included in out syllabuses.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by oldandrew:
It is hard to see why RE would be included when the RE GCSEs are pick and mix qualifications with very little rigour, where it is entirely optional whether anything is covered deeply or intelligently.

If I remember correctly, the last time we discussed RE teaching on here, some RE teachers popped up to explain how they didn't believe in teaching "facts" or anything like that, and it was all about expressing opinions and believing that all opinions were equal.

Rigour? The following are required in RE and far outdo anything in History or Geography GCSE:

LEVEL 7 provide coherent account of / Analyse/Critically evaluate / Use wide range of evidence
LEVEL 8 Synthesize /Justify in depth / Critically evaluate in depth / Contextualise/Analyse coherently

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by coniunx:
Requests have been made to Government to consider this, but they aren't interested; a rather senior local Conservative MP, approached on this, has said they don't want to be seen to do anything which might give faith schools an advantage (which is a slightly odd argument, given that in general faith schools are outperforming the pack on EBac results by a considerable amount anyway).

RE in faith schools is very limited compared with LA syllabuses. Faith schools narrow down RE and the content should NOT be in the Bac in my view.

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FreeJack
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AQA 10010932 Urdu GCSE

EDEXCEL 10008949 Urdu GCSE

AQA 5004493X AQA Level 1/Level 2 GCSE in Urdu GCSE

EDEXCEL 50046287 EDEXCEL Level 1/Level 2 GCSE in Urdu GCSE

Are all on the link.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by coniunx:
a rather senior local Conservative MP

Who is this, please?

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Urdu is an option - see here.

Urdu isn't on your link - please clarify.[/QB]
Click on "List of qualifications that count in the EBacc". (It's an Excel document so I didn't want to link to it directly.)

Thanks for your other comments, btw.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by coniunx:
What is under discussion, apparently, is the removal of RE from the required subjects under the National Curriculum, which is a quite different matter.

How odd! RE is NOT in the National Curriculum. Never has been.

Plus, Gove said last week that the 'we do not envisage that the current arrangements for RE will change.'

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
I went to secondary school from 1992-1999. During that time RE, when it was taught, was barely worth the name since it had very little, if any, religious content to it. If my experience is a common one, then killing off the whole thing would only make official what is already happening in practice.

So should one anecdotal example of bad practice result in killing off all good practice?

On Radio 4 last Saturday, someone said that their nearby academy school diverted all Year 10 and 11 pupils already taking RS into History or Geography and made three RE teachers redundant.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Urdu is an option - see here.

Urdu isn't on your link - please clarify.

Click on "List of qualifications that count in the EBacc". (It's an Excel document so I didn't want to link to it directly.)

Thanks for your other comments, btw. [/QB]

No - it is all English language from different exam boards. I will be delighted if you can prove me to be wrong.

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
No - it is all English language from different exam boards. I will be delighted if you can prove me to be wrong.

It's a spreadsheet with multiple worksheets. Click on the tab marked "Language".

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leo
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Thank you - got it. Good news.

Doubtless OldAndrew will come along and castigate me for my lack of IT skills in reading spreadsheets - to which I say, why isn't ICT in the Bac?

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
RE in faith schools is very limited compared with LA syllabuses. Faith schools narrow down RE and the content should NOT be in the Bac in my view.

So would I be right in concluding that the way RE is regulated would have to be modified before RE could reasonably be included in the EBacc?

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Anglican't
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
I went to secondary school from 1992-1999. During that time RE, when it was taught, was barely worth the name since it had very little, if any, religious content to it. If my experience is a common one, then killing off the whole thing would only make official what is already happening in practice. I would argue, though, that proper religious instruction should be in the curriculum.

You shouldn't generalise from your experience in ONE school.
I know I shouldn't, hence why I wrote 'if my experience is a common one'. I sincerely hope that it is isn't. I appreciate that my knowledge is limited to a seven year period in the last century and I don't pretend that this gives me supreme knowledge of the RE curriculum in 2011.

quote:
In my teaching of RE since 1974, a rigorous knowledge of 6 major world religions has been the cornerstone in the four schools i have worked in and the Agreed Syllabusses of two local authorities I have worked in.
Good.

quote:
What do you mean by 'proper religious instruction'? The term has overtones of indoctrination and is out of place in a multi-faith and partly secular society.
As someone who doesn't believe in many interpretations of a 'multi-faith' society, I have no problem with children being instructed in the fundamentals of Christian faith, what with having an Established Church and all that. I know that you and 99% of other Shipmates will disagree but we all have our quirks.
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Siegfried
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Would someone care to explain to those of us across the pond what is covered in RE? Is it a cultural/historical overview of the origins and tenets of faiths of the world? Or is it focused on teaching school kids about Christianity?

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
RE in faith schools is very limited compared with LA syllabuses. Faith schools narrow down RE and the content should NOT be in the Bac in my view.

So would I be right in concluding that the way RE is regulated would have to be modified before RE could reasonably be included in the EBacc?
Yes - faith schools should be obliged to teach the locally agreed syllabus. The previous government were intending to change the law on this but got cold feet when they considered taking on the RCC and the C of E.

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Siegfried:
Would someone care to explain to those of us across the pond what is covered in RE? Is it a cultural/historical overview of the origins and tenets of faiths of the world? Or is it focused on teaching school kids about Christianity?

There are two attainment targets:

learning about religion - the scope of content should embrace Christianity in its local,
national and global forms, as well as the five other principal world religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism), other religions of significance in Britain (the Baha’i, Jain and Zoroastrian faiths) and non-religious or
secular world views such as humanism. Christianity should be taught in each key
stage. In addition, other religions of local significance may be included, where
appropriate.

learning from religion - this is about the relevance of religion to daily life

There are 6 key concepts:

beliefs, teachings and sources
practices and ways of life
expressing meaning
identity, diversity and belonging
meaning, purpose and truth
values and commitments.

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
I have no problem with children being instructed in the fundamentals of Christian faith, what with having an Established Church and all that.

'instructed' smacks of indoctrination. RE is an educational subject open to pupils of all beliefs and of none. It is suppose to engage them rather than merely impart facts/opinions.

[ 25. January 2011, 14:51: Message edited by: leo ]

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Emma Louise

Storm in a teapot
# 3571

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Leo - just tried to pm you but your box is full!
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leo
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# 1458

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My union, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, has come out in favour opf RE in the Bac and quoted a bishop as saying:
"The Church of England is pretty astonished at the omission of RE. I want to fire a warning salvo that there will be huge objection from the church and many other parts of society if it is not part of the core curriculum," he told the newspaper.

The Bishop noted that religious education is a tool that can be used to create the kind of cohesive society that we are seeking.

He warned that we neglect the subject "at our peril".

I wonder if the NUT and NAS/UWT will catch up. We're always first at curriculum and many other issues.

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by Emma Louise:
Leo - just tried to pm you but your box is full!

Try again! Had a purge.

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Niminypiminy
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# 15489

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Isn't it important to put this discussion in context by recognising that the EBacc is hugely controversial?

It was introduced retrospectively by Gove as an element in the recent league tables of secondary schools (so schools will be judged on their past performance against a standard they had no knowledge of at the time). I suspect it was introduced in this way so as to make any progress made by schools in raising exam results under the previous government seem specious.


It introduces a standard by which all schools and all children will be judged which will not be attainable by a large proportion, a standard that effectively reinstates the core curriculum of a pre-comprehensivisation grammar school.

In that context, pace Leo, the ommission of RE seems to me to be splitting hairs. This isn't because I don't value RE: I do, highly. But it's because it doesn't reflect a broad, balanced, differentiated curriculum which will meet the needs of all pupils.

It's a way of trashing schools that achieve excellence in vocational pathways, for example. It's a way of undermining schools that do amazing things with children who start with staggering cultural and educational disadvantage. And most of all, it's a way of consigning those children who don't get the Ebacc to the bin marked thickies.

Well, speaking as someone who left school with rather less that the equivalent of 5 good GCSEs, let alone an EBacc, and now has a Phd and teaches in a top-rated University department, in my opinion that is a big pile of the stinkiest, rottenest rubbish.

[Edited to say, sorry, emotions ran high and I came over all hell-ish towards the end.]

[ 25. January 2011, 17:37: Message edited by: Niminypiminy ]

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Tom Day
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# 3630

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
Doubtless OldAndrew will come along and castigate me for my lack of IT skills in reading spreadsheets - to which I say, why isn't ICT in the Bac?

As an IT teacher I'd agree! In our school we have just got ICT to become a core subject that everyone must take and then Gove comes out with this.

I don't agree fundamentally with the E-Bac, and this interview with Michael Gove sums it up for me. There are schools who will never get close to 50% of students achieving the E-Bac and therefore it is not a fair measure. By all means have it but to use it to compare schools is plainly unfair. And publishing it this year before schools even had a chance to respond with their curriculum is grammar school biased - in fact I won't be surprised if one of his next announcements is the return to grammar schools.

I'd also agree that it should be a humanities subject, RE (or, as in our school Philosophy and Ethics) is just as important as History or Geography and gives students a chance to look in depth at subjects.

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oldandrew
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# 11546

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by oldandrew:
It is hard to see why RE would be included when the RE GCSEs are pick and mix qualifications with very little rigour, where it is entirely optional whether anything is covered deeply or intelligently.

If I remember correctly, the last time we discussed RE teaching on here, some RE teachers popped up to explain how they didn't believe in teaching "facts" or anything like that, and it was all about expressing opinions and believing that all opinions were equal.

Rigour? The following are required in RE and far outdo anything in History or Geography GCSE:

LEVEL 7 provide coherent account of / Analyse/Critically evaluate / Use wide range of evidence
LEVEL 8 Synthesize /Justify in depth / Critically evaluate in depth / Contextualise/Analyse coherently

Except for the bit about evidence, those are exactly the sorts of vague phrases used to describe dumbed-down subjects. You could be talking about media studies here quite easily.

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Calleva Atrebatum
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# 14058

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It seems bizarre to make RE not count as a humanity for the sake of the 5 GCSEs needed to be awarded the Ebacc (which, as I understand it, isn't a qualification in itself, just the name for doing 5 GCSEs...).

This isn't the same as saying RE should be compulsory at a national level. Clearly it shouldn't; Britain is largely secular and however good the transferable skills learnt in RE are, the same skills can be equally learnt in History or Geography. Individual schools, I think, should be able to make it compulsory if it suits their needs, but it shouldn't be prescribed nationally.

But if a student does RE, whether because they've opted for the GCSE or because their school has made them, it should count as their humanity subject at GCSE. ISTM wrong to say that if a student does RE GCSE, but doesn't do History or Geography, then they haven't done a humanity.

As a tangent, I don't believe making RE an option nationally will diminish its quality nationally; if anything it will raise it, because students opting for it will usually be committed and driven to do this subject.

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Marinaki

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# 343

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Where Schools insist on a Humanities subject at GCSE RE has traditionally taken its place in the options box alongside History and Geography.
[A note - Gove originally excluded Geography until persuaded otherwise].
RE is a required core curriculum subject compulsory till 19 years of age for all those still being schooled.
Post 14 in some areas pupils are legally obliged to take at least a short course in RE, in others there is no such requirement in the legally binding Locally Agreed Syllabus, which means they still have to legally provide non-examined RE (often not of good quality - because schools don't take it seriously and will not put their hands in their pockets to fund it well - with good specialist teachers)and a full course RE will also be on offer.
In my current school, we offered History, RE, and Geography as options, and many students take at least two of these.
At the moment I teach both History and RE (I have two degrees which make this possible). They are equally rigorous subjects, and contrary to 'oldandrew's' assertion RE GCSE does require facts - and lots of them. It also requires analytical and evaluative skills.

RE has increased in popularity over the years and strong and rigorous teaching has increased the uptake. This has led to a strong A'Level cohort. We find that many of our academically gifted sixth-formers choose RE - along with Triple Science, or History or other subjects and their results are well respected and recognised by Universities. Many of our past students go on to Oxbridge and Rusell group universities (we are a truly Comprehensive school).
At the last Humanities Faculty meeting the RE department felt like getting up and leaving. We are all well qualified Theologians and Philosophers who encourage critical thinking and rigour. Our subject in the GCSE choices was to be marginalised by History and Geography. History is a strong subject (I also teach it) and is the most popular in school, followed by RE. Many students do most and the topics are comparable. Now Geography which has inconsistent teaching was getting a leg up and students who might choose RE we were told, would be encouraged to do Geography (i.e. glorified colouring in).
RE would be left with those students who didn't want to do it, and would not get the EBacc anyway. Essentially downgrading the subject and making it unsustainable at A'Level. There is no Philosophy GCSE, so this would also impact on a pure Philosophy A'Level too. We did half-joke that at least we could teach Biblical Hebrew, Ancient Greek and Latin and maybe MFL would take us on.

Part of the problem, is the social commentators on RE are basing their views on their half-remembered opinion of the subject often more than a decade ago, and many cases a lot longer. RE has improved immensely and is seen to have equal standing with Geography and History, unfortunately, many schools are forgetting their purpose - the all round good education of children drawing out their skills and talents. Many teachers think they have to kow tow to Govt. demands. The great irony is that power in the NHS is being devolved to the doctors, but in schools - apparently - Headteachers cannot be trusted to, to provide the best education for their students. They have spent too many years obeying the latest Govt. initiative without examining its pedagogical worth.

Another problem is that the Conservatives seem to be aware that RE is a hot potato, best left alone. This attitude will sound the death knell of rigorous examined RE.

The one positive note, however, is that the National Secular Society and the British Humanist Association have both come out in support of RE - as well as the people you would expect, i.e. churches and faith groups

The Ebacc as a whole is ill-thought out (like something written on the back of an envelope and in haste) and wrong headed. In fact Gove is turning back to 1868 and the Education Curriculum of the Taunton Report. His EBacc is a carbon copy of this.

It's sad to see those who celebrate the demise of RE in British schools seem to have such a poor understanding of the subject and how it is taught today.

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Marinaki

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# 343

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Some examples of typical RE Papers from each of the exam boards. Students normally follow two units - there is a wide choice of topics -I present the more popular. Remember these are examining mainly 15-16 year olds and there is a time limit. Also, bear in mind that many people on this forum have more than a passing interest in these topics and certainly a lot more than your average teenager. A certain degree of knowledge and analysis is required for top grades- this is clearer in the accompanying mark schemes. All are pdf files:

Edexcel does not make its material public but has sample papers here.

AQA Religious Philosophy and Ultimate Questions (

AQA Christianity

OCR Christianity (1 Paper of Four)

OCR Philosophy and Ethics

OCR Religion and Faith in the Modern World

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IC I XC "If thou bear thy cross
---+--- cheerfully, it will bear
NI I KA thee."

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Marinaki

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# 343

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Typos spotted too late in my first post (having the flu doesn't help)

=Russell Group
=students do both (not most)

There are probably a few others.

[Note to self: Check your work before you hand it in, otherwise you will lose marks]

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IC I XC "If thou bear thy cross
---+--- cheerfully, it will bear
NI I KA thee."

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Anglican't
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# 15292

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
I have no problem with children being instructed in the fundamentals of Christian faith, what with having an Established Church and all that.

'instructed' smacks of indoctrination. RE is an educational subject open to pupils of all beliefs and of none. It is suppose to engage them rather than merely impart facts/opinions.
The subject was RI, wasn't it? Personally, I wouldn't mind the stress being put on the learning of facts in school above all else.

quote:
Originally posted by Tom Day:
I won't be surprised if one of his [Michael Gove's] next announcements is the return to grammar schools.

We can only hope.
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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
# 9748

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by Tom Day:
I won't be surprised if one of his [Michael Gove's] next announcements is the return to grammar schools.

We can only hope.
Support for grammars is like being a libertarian. Libertarians always think they're going to come out on top, grammar school supporters always assume their kids will be a shoo-in.

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Ricardus
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# 8757

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
So can you tell me why biblical Hebrew and ancient Greek are in the Bac but Urdu isn't?

Slight tangent - I know we've established the EBacc allows Urdu as a language, but I think there's actually a good reason to be dubious about its inclusion.

My school, like many others, was obsessed with league tables and - again like many others - developed a policy of encouraging bilingual ethnic minority pupils to sit GCSEs in their other native language. When they got A*s - being bilingual - the school then used them to boost its A*/A tally in the league tables. I am pretty sure that the majority of candidates for GCSE Urdu are entered on this basis. (At least in schools, anyway.)

I have no problem with Urdu-speakers being recognised for their ability, but it's rather dishonest for schools to take the credit when they played almost no part in their pupils' ability to speak Urdu.

Ranking schools on the EBacc - when the EBacc includes GCSEs awarded on this basis - guarantees that schools with a high percentage of ethnic minority pupils will be able to artificially boost their position in the league tables.

In other words: I agree with Niminypiminy, that the EBacc is a badly thought out fudge.

[ 26. January 2011, 12:50: Message edited by: Ricardus ]

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Moth

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# 2589

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I quite like the idea of an EBac in principle, but I have my reservations about the practice.

Both sons would have got the EBac, one from a very competitive Grammar school which is right near the top of the EBac league tables. He genuinely does have a good, rounded academic education, and went on to get an International Baccalaureate, which requires English, Maths and a foreign language plus three other subjects all at levels comparable to A level or higher.

The other was deemed 'non-selective' and went to a wide ability church school. I absolutely insisted that he take French GCSE, much to his disgust. He took the lower paper (maximum grade available being C) and duly got a C. He chose to study history, and the other subjects are compulsory anyway. However, his knowledge of French is absolutely pitiful. It is of no use to him whatsoever. My old B grade O level french from 35 years ago is far, far better.

Unless they improve language teaching, or at least the assessment process, I wouldn't give much credibility to the language element of the EBac.

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Ricardus
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# 8757

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quote:
Originally posted by Moth:
Unless they improve language teaching, or at least the assessment process, I wouldn't give much credibility to the language element of the EBac.

As a modern languages graduate, I second that.

I've known people get to A-Level French and look totally flummoxed at the idea of est-ce que to form questions. I've known people get through GCSE German without having heard of the case system!

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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leo
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# 1458

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quote:
Originally posted by oldandrew:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by oldandrew:
It is hard to see why RE would be included when the RE GCSEs are pick and mix qualifications with very little rigour, where it is entirely optional whether anything is covered deeply or intelligently.

If I remember correctly, the last time we discussed RE teaching on here, some RE teachers popped up to explain how they didn't believe in teaching "facts" or anything like that, and it was all about expressing opinions and believing that all opinions were equal.

Rigour? The following are required in RE and far outdo anything in History or Geography GCSE:

LEVEL 7 provide coherent account of / Analyse/Critically evaluate / Use wide range of evidence
LEVEL 8 Synthesize /Justify in depth / Critically evaluate in depth / Contextualise/Analyse coherently

Except for the bit about evidence, those are exactly the sorts of vague phrases used to describe dumbed-down subjects. You could be talking about media studies here quite easily.
AND History - Level 8: analyse the relationships between events.....wider historical context....analyse and explain ....evaluate them. ....use sources of information critically....reach substantiated conclusions independently. They select, organise and deploy relevant information ....

Geography Lever 8: analyse....awareness of the complexity...use and interpret....support analysis and interpretations....carry
out appropriate investigations to solve problems or test hypotheses and reach valid conclusions based on the interpretation of data.

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Posts: 23198 | From: Bristol | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Moth:
My old B grade O level french from 35 years ago is far, far better.

Unless they improve language teaching, or at least the assessment process, I wouldn't give much credibility to the language element of the EBac.

Maybe. I was at a grammar school doing O-levels a little bit more than 35 years ago and there was no way I could have dreamed of passing French. I got a grade 9 at O-level in the end, which is almost the worst you could get. (Grades 1-6 were passes, I think you had to physically assault the examiner to get a 10) So either I was very stupid, or else the teaching was very bad.

And neither seems particularly likely to me - academically the school was pretty much the top of the local area in most things (we were easily the best at science and art, and the only school that could beat us on humanities subjects was our sister grammar school for girls). So the teaching was probably at least OK. And I was average to good at most academic subjects.

So maybe there are people who just don't have the innate ability to do well at languages but are good at other subjects.

(A polite way of saying I think the idea of making a language pass compulsory for a university place stinks)

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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FreeJack
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# 10612

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:

(A polite way of saying I think the idea of making a language pass compulsory for a university place stinks)

So who has proposed that idea? No-one.
Is it likely to happen? No.

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