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World News

69% Britons think it's important to understand others' beliefs

by Cara Bentley

More than two-thirds of British adults said in a survey that it is important to understand other people's religious and non-religious beliefs for everyday life. 

Just under half of Britons identify themselves as religious, but a new report has found that 69 per cent think it's important to understand other people's for school, work or talking to people socially. 

The Savanta research, commissioned by education charity Culham St Gabriel's Trust who support RE teachers, found that nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of adults also consider religious education to be an important part of the school curriculum. This figure is 68 per cent when asked to parents.

Assessing how important understanding people's worldviews was to different aspects of life, over 60 per cent of responders said it was important to each of these aspects: their relationships with friends and family, school, local community and workplace. 

In the nationally representative group of 2000 UK adults, 71 per cent agreed that RE should reflect the diversity of backgrounds and beliefs in the UK today.

Ed Pawson, a former head of RE who was involved in commissioning the research, told Premier: "We're calling for a national plan for RE - to ensure that schools are teaching what we call a national entitlement to RE, which would help all pupils in schools get a better exposure...the thinking time, the discussion time in schools, with trained, qualified, experienced and confident teachers. 

"Our polls show that there are many Secondary schools in particular which aren't delivering high quality RE and some don't have it on their timetable when actually it is a legal requirement."

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