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Businesses call for better RE lessons to boost inclusivity in the workplace

by Premier Journalist

Employers and business leaders from sectors including finance, higher education, and hospitality have signed a Call to Action - asking the government and schools to improve the teaching of Religious Education (RE).

The campaign is led by Lord Bilimoria, former president of the Confederation of Business and Industry who said it's an issue which directly impacts business and stops companies succeeding.

Mr Bilimoria told Management Today last month that RE gave students the opportunity to tackle "some of life's biggest questions" as well as employing critical thinking.

He's concerned with an overall ignorance amongst employees about where different people are coming from in terms of their personal philosophies and how they interact with one another.

He, along with 30 business leaders and employees have issued an open letter addressing the importance of high-quality religious education for an inclusive and global-facing workplace.

There is a statutory requirement for all schools to teach religious education up to year 13 when pupils are 17 and 18.

However, a 2022 study by NATRE (The National Association of Teachers of RE that up to 500 secondary schools in England were not fulfilling their obligation to teach RE in Year 11.

Figures from last December showed just half of Government's initial teacher training targets for secondary schools were reached in 2023/24.  

With difficulties recruiting and retaining teachers at secondary level, filling roles to teach religion in schools is harder.

"If people can't get on together, if they can't relate together, if they don't understand each other, then work workplaces will fail, businesses won't succeed." Ed Pawson, who is an educational consultant and RE advisor, told Premier Christian News

The deputy chair of the Religious Education Council also added that Christians need to help share their faith too.

"He also said it's not all down to teachers either. Please get into your schools and talk to your local teachers about coming in and chatting to pupils about what it means to be a Christian."

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