First, there is no reference in the article to pupils from reception onwards needing, by law, to meet the requirements of the locally agreed syllabus for RE in all community schools.
Standing advisory councils for religious education delegate the responsibility for writing and reviewing the local syllabus, to an "agreed syllabus conference". Any review of RE in a community school should automatically include an assessment of whether the legal requirements of the locally agreed syllabus are met.
Second, the QCA document 'The Non-Statutory National Framework for RE published in 2005, has been used by many 'conferences' to inform the five-yearly review of their locally agreed syllabus. The attainment targets in that document of "learning about religion" and "learning from religion" for KS3 pupils have been adopted by many agreed syllabus conferences.
The statement by Patrick McDermott that "reflection" is not always the "forte of RE teachers" fails to recognise how RE has changed over the last 20 years. RE teachers do indeed have a "natural" language which enables young people to reflect and many are skilled at encouraging such reflection. Without these planned opportunities of learning from religion, RE becomes a sterile, dull lesson of facts instead of a time when pupils can question, analyse and evaluate. Assessment includes such reflection: the QCA document states: "Learning from religion is concerned with developing pupils' reflection on and response to, their experiences and learning about religion."
Chair of the National Association of Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education, Woodford Lodge Professional Centre, Woodford Lane
West, Winsford, Cheshire