Multiracial group of teenagers in uniforms sitting together at desks

Ofsted report finds RE depth needed

A new report has been published into the ways that religious education is delivered in schools, with it finding that the subject is currently lacking in depth.

Through ‘Deep and meaningful? The religious education subject report’ Ofsted has found that education leaders are keen to improve the quality of education in RE, however there has been little progress in this since the last subject report in 2013. One explanation of this is that there is a lack of clarity on the curriculum, as well as guidance on what should be taught and when.

Due to the fact that the curriculum tries to cover a number of religions, this education often lacks depth and leaves students unable to remember a lot. By taking an approach that focuses on depth of study, students are left able to learn much more.

The report also found that that a significant number of schools don’t meet the statutory requirement to teach religious education at all of the stages of a student’s education. Other recommendations made through the report include:

  • Schools need to ensure that there is a distinct curriculum in place for the teaching of RE in all key stages. Whilst this should be challenging, it should also build upon the existing knowledge of pupils
  • Curriculums should be designed by secondary school leaders to ensure that they exceed or meet exam board specifications, instead of being driven by them
  • All teachers should have the subject and pedagogical knowledge that is required for them to teach RE well
  • Timetables should be arranged to make sure that gaps between RE teaching are minimised
  • Opportunities should be provided for pupils to review and build on important knowledge, allowing them to use the knowledge that they have used in previous years as the curriculum becomes more complex and demanding.
Multiracial group of teenagers in uniforms sitting together at desks

Sir Martyn Oliver, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, said:

“A strong RE curriculum is not only important for pupils’ cultural development, it is a requirement of law and too many schools are not meeting that obligation.

“I hope that the examples of good RE curriculum in our report help schools develop their own practice and support the development of a strong RE curriculum for all.”


Image credit: iStock


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