Priorities in Religious Education: A Model for the 1990s and Beyond

Priorities in Religious Education: A Model for the 1990s and Beyond

Priorities in Religious Education: A Model for the 1990s and Beyond

Priorities in Religious Education: A Model for the 1990s and Beyond


A collection of articles which look at the future development of religious education in the light of the 1988 Education Reform Act and at how religious education should now develop in schools. It contains practical guidance for meetings and workshops and questions to stimulate further discussion.


The potential role of religious education in the 1990s for all schools is as significant as ever. the Education Reform Act has ensured the survival of the subject in state schools and given fresh impetus for its development. Schools outside direct state control often have a specific concern for religious education, at least in theory; some wish to make it the central point of the curriculum. Moreover, for those schools where religion is marginalized there is increasing pressure today-through concern to eradicate racism and sexism, for example-to take more seriously matters concerned with values and beliefs which entail some attention to religion. For whether viewed from the perspective of a consciously pluralist society or approached from that of a concern for Christian heritage, the question of religion cannot be easily dismissed. It continues to exercise a fascination and power. This is even more apparent if seen on a global stage. Religious education therefore matters.

The educational aim of helping children and students to understand religion is easy to state, but exceedingly hard to achieve, because religion is an area of knowledge which bristles with difficulties: its complexity, controversial nature and emotive power can make it a minefield from which many consider it safest to keep well away.

The minimal time, resources, staffing and status which re normally receives make the question of what shall be done with and in it crucially important. the plea of the classroom teacher for practical help in deciding on priorities must be taken seriously. in most schools only a little can realistically be attempted. It is vital therefore that that little is chosen with care.

In this book leading experts share their thinking on what they see as the most significant way in which religious education should develop. the twelve priorities are summarized in an appendix to the book together with discussion questions and a diagram-materials which could be used for staff meetings or for a study day or conference; it could also prove useful for a governors' meeting, or for consideration by the local sacre.

One approach to this book for those particularly interested in practical help might be to turn first to the last chapter, followed by the rest of Part 3. the relevance of Parts 1 and 2 to the everyday realities of the teacher's role in re, whether in primary or secondary school, will then be clearly appreciated.

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