Tell Nicky Morgan: Teach humanism and atheism as part of religious education in British schools

  • by: Beth G.
  • target: Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary & the Department for Education

Changes to the religious studies (RS) GCSE now give priority to religious views - in particular Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism - but do not include atheist or humanist perspectives.

In November 2015 the High Court ruled that The Education Secretary made "an error of law" when she sidelined "non-religious world views" in the new religious studies (RS) GCSE. Justice Warby ruled there had been a "breach of the duty to take care that information or knowledge included in the curriculum is conveyed in a pluralistic manner".

However, new guidance from The Department for Education now makes clear that schools are not required to teach pupils about atheism in religious studies GCSEs. It also says that religious education should "reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are, in the main Christian".

This creates a bias that should not be taught to our children. Young people should be taught about religious and non-religious world views in order to make educated decisions about their own beliefs.

Please sign this petition to demand that the teaching guidelines for Religious Studies GCSE are changed to explicitly include the teaching of non-religious perspectives such as atheism and humanism.

Andrew Copson, British Humanist Association Chief Executive said, "the entire [High Court] judgement was based on the finding that religious education in schools with no religious character must be "neutral, impartial and pluralistic" and so must cover non-religious beliefs. For the Department now to say "The Government considers the judgment to have no broader impact on any aspect of its policy in relation to the RE curriculum" is not only obtuse, it risks leading schools and teachers into breaches of the law."

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