Religion in decline

11th January 2008 at 00:00

Teachers in Scotland are needed for research on the changing nature of religious education.

Aberdeen University's Graeme Nixon has already carried out a pilot survey with schools in the city, and wants to build on his initial findings. He was looking to see if secularisation, postmodernity and more democratic education methods had led to a "more philosophical and non-confessional" religious education.

In a presentation at the recent annual conference of the Scottish Educational Research Association, he pointed to the use of "The Simpsons" (below) and Phillip Pullman's "Golden Compass" trilogy as possible evidence of postmodernity and the decline of institutional spirituality. He said: "RE has had to change to be relevant in an age when the old tribal answers don't seem to be working, and where educational practice has become increasingly democratic."

Most RE departments in the pilot thought increasingly philosophical approaches had emerged as a result of secularisation and the decline of religion. Some thought that pupils and teachers wanted to "retreat from the fundamentalism associated with religion".

A questionnaire for RE teachers is available at:

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today