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Religious education to be reviewed

The quality of religious education is improving, but there are still weaknesses, particularly at secondary level, research by the Office for Standards in Education has found. writes Nicolas Barnard.

In a report timed for this week's National RE Festival, OFSTED said the new RE syllabus had had a great impact in primary schools. But in secondary schools, although teachers made great demands of themselves in their teaching, and classroom discussions were demanding, written work often failed to challenge pupils.

Dr Nick Tate, chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, officially launched the festival by announcing a likely review of the syllabus. He said the subject's potential had yet to be fully realised. "Without RE we do not understand the world," he said. "Without it we do not understand our legacy from the past, something we need to understand even if we go on to reject it."

Half the schools in the country were expected to take part in the festival. Cathedrals, churches, synagogues, and Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist temples have opened their doors for a week of activities.

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