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Ofsted Report: Transforming RE Print E-mail

The Ofsted Long Report on Transforming Religious Education

Member bodies of the RE Council will find that this latest Ofsted report  reflects many of their concerns about RE. It captures the quality and popularity of good primary and secondary RE provision where it exists. It also draws attention to the continuing variability in both the quantity and quality of that provision, diagnosing very clearly how it could be improved. It is particularly disappointing that it reports a deterioration in secondary RE in the schools inspected since 2006, most especially at Key Stage 3.


Several of the identified areas in need of strengthening are in effect already being pursued as part of the remaining year of the RE Action Plan and other REC-related initiatives. They  include the following:

  • supporting local SACREs and Agreed Syllabus Conferencesso that they can make more effective use of the non-statutory National Framework for RE  in order to promote quality religious education in line with the recently revised non statutory Guidance on RE.
  • mapping and co-ordinating available CPD supports for primary and secondary RE teachers on a region by region basis
  • raising the profile of good RE through a month-long National Celebration of RE in March 2011, so that all schools and members of the wider community can appreciate the value and importance of good RE
  • demonstrating through the 11-16 REsilience project  that RE has a pivotal contribution to make to the beliefs dimension of community cohesion, and how to handle controversial and contentious issues in the classroom.

However, the report highlights some long term challenges:

  • the first of these are the substantial inadequacies of some parts of the provision including teacher education in the subject -  a decades-old difficulty
  • second is the variability from one LA to another in the nature and level of support made available to schools for this subject teaching
  • thirdly, without detriment to local initiative, stronger consistency in identifying the developmental sequencing and desirable outcomes from  RE needs more attention.

The RE Council is united in believing that the professional associations and faith community organisations which make up its membership should respond to this report by their working together to provide the quality of RE which the country as a whole deserves, coherent and vibrant at every level.

Contrary to assertions of some commentators, good RE is both demanding and popular. Should we really be content with anything less than for every school leaver to have

  • an understanding of Christianity and the other significant religions and beliefs which thrive here
  • a readiness to reflect on, analyse and apply concepts and skills that help develop meaning, purpose and value in their lives
  • the ability to be successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens in their local, national and  global communities?

The report can be downloaded from the OFSTED website - click here


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