May 9, 2011

R.E. campaigners call for House of Commons debate


by Jan Harris

David Cameron is being called upon by Religious Education campaigners to honour his pre-election promise that any petition with more than 100,000 signatures can be debated in the House of Commons.

The RE.Act campaign, which seeks to ensure that GCSE RE is included in the recently launched English Baccalaureate, has now been signed by 110,000 people, and the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, is calling for the Commons to debate the issue.

In order to pass the baccalaureate, pupils must gain A to C grades in five core subjects: English, mathematics, science, languages and humanities.

Campaigners want RE to be included as part of the Humanities element of the curriculum, along with history, ancient history and geography, arguing on the RE.Act website that “Religious Education has the strong potential to increase understanding and tolerance, building social cohesion in our increasingly diverse society.”

The petition has received widespread support and has been signed by leaders of Sikh, Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Muslim and Hindu organisations, as well as by 100 MPs.

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