RE's pictures from the past

25th March 2011 at 00:00

How exciting to read that religious and moral education is thriving in Scotland (News Focus, 11 March). Indeed, since joining Forres Academy six years ago I have seen my Higher religious, moral and philosophical studies class rise from a dozen to more than 30 in the past two years, with interest surpassing that figure. The article was clearly well researched and included plenty of backing up from specialist teachers. However, there are two issues to which I must respond.

The first is the cover title caption, "Why the new curriculum could be RE's saviour". For a start, I'm not keen on analogies between Christianity and RE, but it is the implication that RE is dying or even dead and needs "resurrecting" that concerns me. The article proves that RE is strong in a number of schools and the rise in the number of pupils sitting Higher RMPS (from 1,323 in 2006 to an expected 4,100 in 2011) illustrates that its popularity has been on the increase despite Curriculum for Excellence. I appreciate that the delivery of RE in some schools is possibly below the standards CfE demands, and CfE can help to improve this. It's just not as bad as the cover suggests.

The second issue is the choice of photographs used throughout the article. If RE has moved so far forward in the past 39 years, why am I looking at pictures of children clutching bibles in a classroom, children praying and a woman standing in a doorway grasping a rather oversized two-foot cross? If I wasn't an RME teacher, I would glance at these images, assume nothing had changed since the days when I endured RE at school and turn over the page.

It was satisfying to read the article but disappointing to look at it.

Joff Meston, Teacher of RME, Forres Academy.

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