Terms of Reference

1.       Terms of Reference for the Commission on Religious Education:

i.          Name of Commission:

Commission on Religious Education


ii.        The purposes of the Commission:

To review the legal, education and policy frameworks for RE, by a wide-ranging, inclusive and evidence-based process designed to inform policy makers about these areas.  The ultimate aim will be to improve the quality and rigour of religious education and its capacity to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain.


iii.      Remit of the Commission:

  • To consider the nature, purposes, and scope of religious education.
  • To identify the enabling factors that currently promote high quality RE, and the barriers that currently limit it.
  • To identify what changes are needed to ensure the highest quality provision of RE. 
  • To ensure that recommendations focus on realistic and specific proposals aimed at both immediate and long-term implementation in the context of continuing educational reform.

In considering the above 4 tasks, the REC has identified the following areas for the Commission to consider:

  • The quality of teaching and learning in RE
  • The legal and structural arrangements
  • The public and professional profile of the subject
  • Recruitment, Initial Teacher Education and  Continuous Professional Development
  • The range of school settings in which RE should be required
  • The age range for which RE should be required
  • The right to withdraw (parents or carers, pupils and teachers)
  • Whether or not there should be a common entitlement in RE, and if so what the entitlement should be

The REC expects the Commission to make explicit the evidence base for the recommendations they make, and ensure the conceptual clarity of any key terms used.


iv.      Parameters of the Commission

The Commission should consider RE in all schools and colleges in England that educate pupils of any age up to 19, irrespective of whether they are mainstream, special or alternative provision, independent or maintained, and of a religious character or not.

The Commission should not consider:

  • Admissions policies in schools of a religious character
  • Employment of staff on the basis of their religion
  • Collective worship


v   About the REC

The Religious Education Council of England and Wales was established in 1973 to represent the collective interests of a wide variety of professional associations and faith communities in deepening and strengthening provision for religious education. It provides a multi-faith forum where national organisations with an interest in supporting and promoting religious education in schools and colleges can share matters of common concern. The REC's vision is that every young person experiences a personally inspiring and academically rigorous education in religious and non-religious worldviews. It seeks to work in a way that embodies values of cooperation, collaboration, openness, mutual respect and critical engagement.