The Place of Religious Education in the Curriculum
This chapter begins with an overview of a range of factors influencing the place of RE in the curriculum. It then explores some controversial aspects of RE’s development, exemplified by the fact that the subject is both compulsory but optional and local but national. The ownership of RE, the subject’s aims and its relationship with religion(s) are noted, as the origins of current realities are explored. The concluding section considers current and future possibilities for RE as it finds a place in the new revised curriculum. Any review of RE’s place in the curriculum has to take account of wider debates about the whole curriculum in state schooling, from the early years of education to (and through) adulthood. The perceived purposes of education affect RE’s position. The main focus of the legal framework described in this chapter is RE in the maintained (county) secondary school curriculum in England, with some references to Welsh provision. School collective worship is mentioned, but only as part of RE’s history. The chapter explores the maze of structures, people, and their communities, that are intended to support the subject in a variety of different schools. The intention is to reach the centre of the maze, the pupil, and hence the heart of RE.