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YFC Schools Resources is managed by British Youth for Christ - Registered Charity No. 263446, SC039297 and is also a company limited by guarantee (No. 00988200). For more information, please visit www.yfc.co.uk.
 

Education Update

The English Bac and the future of RE


The pages of the Times Educational Supplement have been filled with articles about Michael Gove’s latest innovation – the English Baccalaureate. This is not a new qualification – rather it is a new way of measuring performance in schools. The English Bac will be a new certificate awarded to students who achieve A* - C grades in Maths, English, two Sciences, a foreign language and a humanity (defined as Geography or History). Schools will be judged in new league tables that will assess numbers of students achieving this new qualification.

The English Bac is meant to be proof of a student receiving a well-rounded education but it has met with many criticisms. Firstly, it is not a unique course of study such as it is with the International Baccalaureate – it is merely a wrapper round existing courses. Secondly, many dispute how it can represent a well-rounded education when it intentionally omits vocational and arts courses. Thirdly, it will create an atmosphere of pressure on students where teachers may try and persuade students to drop some subjects and take up others in order to qualify for the all-important league table marker.

For YFC the most worrying thing has been the omission of RE as a legitimate humanity subject. Already there are indications that it will disappear altogether at Key Stage 4 if things remain as they are, because resources will be needed elsewhere. If it becomes a non-subject (Michael Gove has said only academically challenging subjects count – RE is seen as a soft subject) then jobs will be at risk and the main emphasis for RE will be at primary school and Key Stage 3.

Opportunities for YFC to work above the age of 14 are already limited but this shift in policy will make things harder still. It is hoped that pressure from protesters might bring about change, but as things stand now, the subject is at a crossroads. Why not talk to your local RE teachers and find out how they feel, and more importantly how you can help?