At a time when religious issues dominate the news headlines, it’s disappointing that thousands of pupils in Welsh schools are denied the chance to study Religious Education. At its meeting at Gregynog, Powys the Council of the Union of Welsh Independent Churches called on all secondary schools in Wales to provide Religious Education, which is an increasingly popular subject according to the Education Inspector, Estyn.
The Union of Welsh Independents’ Council appreciates the work done by Religious Education and Religious Studies teachers throughout Wales and congratulates pupils on receiving excellent results at GCSE, AS and A level exams annually*.
“But we’re disappointed that not all secondary schools choose to offer Religious Studies as a subject at GCSE and A level,” said the Revd Aled Jones, the Independents’ Training Coordinator in south Wales. “This is depriving thousands of young people in Wales from having the opportunity to consider some of life’s great issues. Religious Studies discuss these issues by looking at the religious faith and conviction of people worldwide.
“Therefore, we’re asking every secondary school in Wales to ensure that their pupils have the opportunity to study for the full range of examinations in Religious Studies. We also call on SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education) members on the local authorities to influence schools to achieve this.”
* ESTYN (8 June 2013)
More pupils than ever before are taking a GCSE in religious studies and results have risen steadily over the last five years. The number of pupils achieving grades A*-C for the full GCSE is well above the average for other subjects. Estyn’s report on Religious education in secondary schools found that both the full and the short (half a GCSE) courses have become increasingly popular. For both courses, the proportion of pupils attaining grade A* in Wales is higher than in the rest of the UK.