chapter  9
Establishing and Enriching Religious Education at 16-plus
ByVanessa Ogden
Pages 16

Kennedy’s compelling vision of an inclusive system of further education which contributes to the social capital, as well as to the economic capital, of a learning society fit for the twenty first century has to be one of the most powerful arguments for the importance of Post-16 RE in sixth forms, sixth-form colleges and colleges of further education (FE). If it is the ultimate goal of our society, in planning its future, to build a prosperous, creative, critically self-aware and cohesive civilisation, then RE’s contribution to enhanced and enlightened working practices and an enriched social and community life is fundamental. The skills of recognising and interpreting ambiguity, diversity, subjectivity and hidden meaning which arrive with the transition from adolescence to adulthood may never, if left to chance, reach maturation (Hyde 1990, p. 52; Grimmitt 1987, p. 59). RE at post-16 deals directly with the development of what Vygotsky terms the higher-order semiotic skills, enabling pupils to transcend objective formal-operational thinking and empowering them as independent learners to unravel the intricate interwoven strands of public and working life (Wertsch 1985, p. 15).