The emphasis upon one text, namely the Bible, serves to highlight the fact that, in practice, teachers are being expected to give priority to Christianity. While the 1988 Education Reform Act does require more time to be devoted to Christianity, it is often misconstrued as having to give the religion a greater status than the other faiths practised in Britain.
I also question whether the literacy hour provides opportunities for quality religious education. Research I conducted last year suggested that the framework in which children are allowed to explore texts does not allow for genuine debate and discussion about the implications of the story. Children need opportunities to discuss and relate texts to their own life experiences and world views.
I am sure Margaret Cooling would not wish to exclude the richness of, for example, stories in the Bhagavad Gita. Neither am I suggesting that the Bible should be excluded - far from it. Nonetheless I feel such ideas are in danger of promoting an "exclusive" rather than "inclusive" curriculum.
Sue Kendall, Lecturer in primary religious education, Goldsmiths' College, University of London