Michael Gove admits RE “unintended casualty of reforms” – commits Department to “revitalising the conversations on RE”

Comment from the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC)

At an event ‘Church of England: Education and our Future’ at Lambeth Palace (Wednesday 3rd July), the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, accepted Bishop Pritchard's point that Religious Education had been an "unintended casualty" of curriculum reforms. He said, "I don't think I've done enough," adding "I thought its [RE's] special status was protection enough." He committed the Department for Education to "revitalising the conversations on RE".

John Keast, Chair, Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) comments:

"We have been telling the Secretary of State that his reforms are damaging RE for some time, so we welcome this first indication that Mr Gove finally recognises that there is an issue.

RE is a popular and academically rigorous subject, however this Government’s actions are resulting in fewer specialist teachers, lessons being cut, and exam entries going down.1

We have also been calling for greater dialogue with the Department for Education, so Mr Gove’s commitment to revitalising those discussions is another positive step. We are on standby to meet Mr Gove at short notice if necessary.

“Of course the proof of the pudding is always in the eating. We’d like to see Mr Gove’s promises backed up by some positive and urgent action to address these issues."



1.     National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE). Online survey of 625 schools in England between June-July 2012.

2.     YouGov Plc. Online research among 1825 adults (18+) in England and Wales between 9th-12th March 2012. 

For further information on the Lambeth Education Seminar visit: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5093/archbishop-hosts-church-of-england-education-and-our-future-seminar

Further media information

About the REC

Established in 1973, the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) brings together over 60 national organisations. These comprise academic and professional associations specialising in religions and religious education, as well as individual religion and belief organisations inclusive of the range of faith communities found nationally, including the British Humanist Association. 

For more information on this issues facing RE visit the ReThinkRE Campaign website: www.rethinkre.org