Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary has set out his concerns that ‘Ofsted is not allowed to inspect religious teaching in faith schools‘. The issue of faith schools essentially inspecting themselves when it comes to the content of their religious teaching was discussed when Labour Humanists met with Tristram Hunt MP earlier this year, and this public statement from Dr Hunt is very welcome. What we would like to see is a firm policy proposal from Labour to ensure that religious teaching in faith schools is opened up to the same scrutiny and inspection as all other state schools.
You can listen to the full discussion between Dr Hunt and David Aaronovitch, which was a Progress event on October 28. They discuss various issues relating to faith schools from 21 – 28 minutes.
What’s the issue with RE in faith schools?
There are a number of concerns about what and how RE is taught in state-funded faith schools. The British Humanist Association’s (BHA) education campaigner Richy Thompson blog ‘10 facts about faith schools‘ sets these out. These include:
- Most don’t have to teach about other religions in Religious Education
- When they do teach about other religions, they often don’t teach about them properly
- They don’t have to teach about non-religious people and beliefs
- Their RE teaching isn’t even inspected by Ofsted. The religious bodies inspect it themselves
- ‘Faith’ schools do not have to provide much in the way of sex education and can choose to only teach abstinence until marriage