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Schools accused of failing to teach GCSE pupils Religious Studies

The number taking the subject has fallen for the first time in more than a decade. It's down 4.6 per cent from last year to 269,839.

The number studying the short course GCSE in Religious Studies is down 24.6 per cent from last year to 53,071.

All schools have a legal requirement to offer religious education at all ages but those in the RE community claim the decline suggests the schools aren't being held to account and ae flouting their obligations.

Daniel Hugill, Chair, National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) said: "It is clear that not all students receiving their results today were offered the chance to study this important subject, which is reflected in the decline in entries.

"It is difficult to see how these schools are ensuring a suitable degree of religious literacy in their students or indeed meeting their legal responsibilities in terms of Religious Education in Key Stage 4.

"NATRE are encouraged to see evidence that some OFSTED inspectors are again looking at RE/RS provision and outcomes in schools where there are concerns about the lack of GCSE entries."

Chief Executive, Religious Education Council of England and Wales said: "It is troubling that there is a decline in the number of pupils receiving a solid grounding in Religious Education at Key Stage 4.

"It would be dangerous should increasing numbers of young people miss the opportunity to develop their understanding of the full diversity of faiths and beliefs. Where schools and Academies are not offering Religious Studies, GCSE pupils are being denied the opportunity to study an important and valuable subject, and there are serious concerns that the school is struggling to meet its legal obligations.

"More than ever, as our society becomes increasingly multicultural and religious extremism continues to dominate the news agenda, we need young people to be religiously literate. We need them to become skilled intercultural navigators, and good Religious Education is a key part of that."

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