An inspirational R.S. teacher passed these excellent reasons why R.S. GCSE needs to be included in the English Baccalaureate to me:
Five (and a half) reasons that Religious Studies should be included as a Humanity in the English Baccalaureate
1. Because Religious Studies is a rigorous and demanding academic discipline in its own right. It engenders critical thinking and rigour in the search for truths in uncertain fields. It encourages philosophical thought, decision making skills, collaboration and independent working skills and the search for compromise and conflict resolutions that work. It creates opportunities for young people to develop their skills of dialogue, interpretation and analysis in a coherent context. All these are vital skills in a modern workforce where communication, collaboration and cooperation are core skills.
2. Because Religious Studies has a multidisciplinary nature, involving textual study, philosophical thinking, ethics, social understanding and the skills of analysis and reasoning developing core skills of literacy.
3. Because Religious Studies makes a key and unique contribution to understanding British heritage, plurality, values and futures. It provides an excellent opportunity for young people to engage with contemporary contentious issues, developing social, cultural, political, philosophical and historical awareness.
4. Because in Religious Studies pupils learn to respect themselves and understand their own identity, to respect others, and to understand their own and others' rights and responsibilities. At a time when communities are becoming more diverse there is an even greater need for a more religiously literate and tolerant society. Religious Studies plays a key role in creating social cohesion and generating genuine understanding between communities reducing friction, intolerance and social unrest.
5. Because GCSE and A level growth in the last 10 years, fuelled by student interest, makes Religious Studies the most popular Humanities subject, and one of the most popular choices outside the core, in 16+ exams presently.
5.5 Because no case has been made for excluding it – the current list looks arbitrary!