Department for Education
The Department for Education is keen to ensure that all pupils receive high quality RE and must fulfil the Secretary of State’s duty in relation to the curriculum.
For this purpose it has published Religious education in English schools: Non-statutory guidance 2010
It provides clear non-statutory guidance about RE in the curriculum and the roles of those who have a responsibility for, involvement in or interest in the subject. The guidance is intended for:
- local authorities (LAs), standing advisory councils on religious education (SACREs) and agreed syllabus conferences (ASCs)
- governors, headteachers, curriculum planners, teachers and trainee teachers of RE and others in maintained schools
- educational agencies, advisers, inspectors and consultants
- providers of initial teacher training (ITT) and continuing professional development (CPD), trainers and mentors
- representatives of religion and belief groups locally and nationally
- RE professional bodies, national and local.
It also provides checklists, case studies and links to relevant websites for people involved in designing and teaching RE.
The Training and Development Agency The Training and Development Agency (TDA)
The Training and Development Agency The Training and Development Agency (TDA) supports training in RE, during initial teacher training (ITT) and through continuing professional development (CPD), by providing access to specialist subject knowledge for ITT tutors and mentors.
Specialist Schools and Academies Trust The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT)
Specialist Schools and Academies Trust The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) (www.ssatrust.org.uk//humanities) works to support RE leaders and departments in humanities specialist schools through their Lead Practitioner programme and through middle-leadership development courses. These courses are designed to address the additional responsibilities of heads of specialist target-setting departments in humanities schools.
RE subject leaders look at issues such as developing links with partner schools, businesses and the wider community. The head of RE in a humanities school has a wider-reaching role where their subject is one of the three specialist subjects. They are responsible for mentoring and coaching other subject leaders and for monitoring the impact of their specialist subject’s reach across the school community.
Other support materials, such as downloadable resources, are available on the humanities section of the SSAT website. The SSAT also provides regular email updates.
Ofsted (www.ofsted.gov.uk) inspects and reports on all maintained schools, academies, city colleges and some non-maintained schools in England. The inspections take place at intervals that are described in regulations.
After an inspection Ofsted must report on the quality of the education provided, how far it meets the needs of the range of pupils at the school, the educational standards, the quality of leadership and management, the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils.
Ofsted also inspects subjects as part of a three-year rolling programme. Each of the National Curriculum subjects RE, personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) and business studies are inspected in general terms and in relation to issues specific to that particular subject. In the case of RE, Ofsted inspects a sample of 30 primary and 30 secondary schools.
A small number of additional visits can be made to schools identified as having particularly good practice in the subject. The outcomes of this work feed into the Her Majesty's Chief Inspector (HMCI) annual report but also, once every three years, result in a substantial report on the subject. Denominational RE at schools with a religious character that can teach according to the tenets of their faith is inspected separately and additionally by the relevant religious authorities themselves, under Section 48 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006. Subject visits are made to a cross-section of primary and secondary schools.
Each visit involves an evaluation of achievement and standards, the quality of provision, and the leadership and management of the subject. In addition, the inspection programme focuses on specific issues relating to the subject to track the impact of recent initiatives and to investigate the need for future developments.
The visits are followed by a brief letter to the school summarising the points made in the feedback and discussion at the end of the visit. The feedback letter is copied by Ofsted to the local authority (LA) and the SACRE, where appropriate, and is available to the next institutional inspection team. It is also published on the Ofsted website.