Religious education at key stage 2 and key stage 3

Summary

This report is written in response to a request for advice from the Welsh Government in the Minister’s annual remit letter to Estyn for 2017-2018.
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This report is written in response to a request for advice from the Welsh Government in the Minister’s annual remit letter to Estyn for 2017-2018. The report evaluates standards, provision and leadership in religious education at key stage 2 and key stage 3. It does not cover religious education in denominational, independent or special schools.

This report covers standards in religious education at key stage 2 and key stage 3, and participation and engagement in learning. It also considers the factors that affect standards, including curriculum planning, teaching, assessment, leadership and improving quality.

The report is intended for the Welsh Government, headteachers and staff in schools, local authorities and regional consortia, and members of Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (SACREs)1. The report’s findings will also help to inform the development and implementation of the new Curriculum for Wales.

Recommendations

Schools should:
R1 Ensure that more able pupils achieve in line with their ability in religious education
R2 Strengthen monitoring and self-evaluation arrangements in key stage 2 to focus on improving pupils’ standards and skills in religious education
R3 Strengthen transition arrangements so that learning experiences in key stage 3 build on those in key stage 2 and avoid repetition of work
R4 Evaluate their curriculum for religious education to prepare for the development and implementation of the new Humanities Area of Learning and Experience

Local authorities and regional consortia should:
R5 Work with SACREs to provide:
a. suitable professional learning opportunities for teachers of religious education
b. support for schools to evaluate their curriculum and plan for religious education as an integral part of the development of the humanities area of learning and experience
c. advice for schools on how to address sensitive issues with pupils and how to deal with parental concerns on visiting places of worship
R6 Ensure that all leaders fulfil their responsibilities under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015
R7 Provide schools with guidance on approved places of worship to visit
The Welsh Government should:
R8 Work with local authorities, regional consortia and SACREs to ensure that there is clarity over the place of religious education within the Humanities Area of Learning and Experience