I have recently (you may or may not know) started a PGCE course for Secondary Schools specialising in Religious Education. And in this position I have suddenly found it interesting to keep tabs on the events, and more to the point in my book, differing philosophies surrounding the teaching of our youngsters.

...Sorry, young people... Or students... Definatly not Kids... Yeah, whatever.

Reading the DK's response to Conservative plans to emulate (badly as it seems, link focuses on tax cuts but buried in there is the education bit) various successful schooling systems in Switzerland and parts of the US with some interest.

On the Devil's Kitchen the response is well known to anyone who reads it; the distinct noise of a head banging against a wall in frustration at the stupidity that results from politics. It seems, says the DK somewhat tentatively that, "whilst I wouldn't like to leap to conclusions, it seems that the Tories still don't get it."

Exactly what they don't get is something that surprises me. They don't seem to get the fact that more government intervention and the greater that Education is politicised the worse our education system becomes.

I can't help but agree wholeheartedly, especially from the perspective of someone going into teaching RE. RE is a contentious issue and subject to teach. This is only heightened with the current climate resulting in children's(including more grown up children who vote BMP) ignorance towards other cultures shown, expressed and even acted upon like no other time. Equally RE seems to be avoiding the difficult questions, looking at high ethics as a way from touching on Muslin or Christian Extremism, for example.

There are no "Why do they hate us so much?" questions. Or looks at the problems within the state of Israel. Instead I am seeing topics that look at more cold issues and ethical dilemma which may be important, but ultimately are lacking in relevance for anyone who deals with (what can almost seem like) race wars within school property.

In RE there is no National Curriculum. This is a good thing, but not only this but there is no leadership to make RE anything more than a pathetic excuse to appease history and the dwindling sense that this is a Christian nation. Leadership is needed in direction empowering schools to touch on intrinsically difficult topics. But freedom like that which is proposed by DK on a Education sector wide is also applicable to a smaller level.

As I say, we have some of the last aspect but it is at the moment failing for RE only in its timidity. So in this I make a rallying call for all Religious Education teachers everywhere. Where all other subjects are being dumbed down and made easier, make RE the subject that engages, enthuses and intellectually stimulates all students from all backgrounds.

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