The impressive entry for short-course RE marks a victory for pragmatism rather than a religious revival. Since 1944, thousands of key stage 4 pupils have been legally obliged to study RE, even though few ever entered a public exam.
Until now, compulsory RE did not command enough time to cope with a full syllabus.
The short course was devised after a campaign by RE specialists. They believe the new exam offers important motivation, and could be a step towards breathing life back into the subject.