Politics, Religion and Education.
Famously, Alistair Campbell said of Blair’s Government ‘We don’t do God’.
Interestingly, the County Council has a legal duty to ‘Do God’!
Under current legislation, all schools must provide Religious education for all children. This has to cover all religions and they are required to carry out collective worship of a broadly Christian nature.
Each County or Unitary Council has a SACRE- the Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education. The function of SACRE is to devise a local Agreed Syllabus for RE and to promote/encourage/champion good RE teaching.
One of my jobs is to chair the East Sussex SACRE and we have just finalised our updated curriculum.
Church schools are, of course, primarily controlled by the Diocese, whether Anglican or Roman Catholic and follow a diocesan curriculum but all other maintained schools are legally required to follow this Agreed East Sussex curriculum. Academies do not have to follow this but they are required to provide similar RE and in many cases this is part of their funding agreement with the government.
As a result, SACRE members are carrying out an extensive programme of visiting schools to ensure they are meeting their obligations and offering support to help them to do so. We have visited most maintained secondary schools and some primary schools. We have just begun visits to Academies and these are being quite positive.
You might ask “Why bother?”
My view is that understanding religion is very important as this country becomes increasingly more secular while much of the rest of the world is becoming more religious. Christianity is growing in Africa, America, Asia and even in Russia. Just as important is the dominance of religion across the Islamic world as well as the powerful traditions of Hinduism in India and Buddhism in many Asian counties.
Understanding British history, literature, music, art and architecture is also quite difficult if people don’t know a bit about Christianity.
November 7, 2017.
Your local Councillors:
Roy Galley email@example.com
Peter Roundell firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Lunn Cllr.email@example.com