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Highest number of RE GCSE students since 2002

There were 284,057 entries on the full course this year, up 0.1% on 2015.

The rise comes as the overall number of GCSE entries across all subjects is down by 0.5%.

Elsewhere the number of students taking the short course in RE has dropped rapidly. Just 53,093 took it in 2016. In 2010 it was 254,698.

Daniel Hugill, chair of the National Association of Teachers of RE said: "It is encouraging to see the number of students taking full course GCSE.

"We must also celebrate the work of their teachers who have worked tirelessly to ensure that their students can reach their full potential.

"Teachers, parents, employers, and students themselves, all recognise that GCSE study in Religious Studies makes a key contribution to preparing young people for adult life in our pluralistic society and global community."

Religious Education was omitted from the new EBacc qualification that was introduced by the government meaning the increase is seemingly down to the popularity of the subject with pupils needing to choose to study it.

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