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Religious Education: Maintained Schools

Volume 682: debated on Monday 12 October 2020

What steps he is taking to ensure maintained schools comply with requirements to teach religious education. (907364)

Maintained schools are required to teach religious education to all five to 18-year-olds. Any concerns that a maintained school is not meeting that duty should first go through the school’s complaints procedure, and if the complaint is not resolved, the issue can be escalated to the Department’s school complaints unit.

Religious education helps children to grow up with an understanding of and respect for people from different religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. It is also a statutory requirement, but the Religious Education Council tells me that 40% of all schools give no hours to RE in year 11. Does the Minister agree that the Department needs to better support schools to ensure that they are meeting their obligations to teach RE?

I agree with the hon. Member. Good quality religious education can help to develop children’s knowledge of the values and traditions of Britain and other countries, and foster understanding among different faiths and cultures. At a national level, the proportion of time secondary schools spend teaching RE has actually remained broadly stable. It was 3.2% of all teaching hours in 2010 and 3.3% in 2019.