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From the editor's desk 15 September

The War Cry comments on religious education

There is a shortfall in good RE teaching

IT was Pink Floyd who, in 1979, proclaimed, ‘We don’t need no education.’ The opening line of the No 1 song ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ was adopted as an anthem of defiance by many schoolchildren at the time. However, the use of a double negative in the lyrics meant that they were effectively singing, ‘We do need education.’

That is still true almost 40 years on. People are still in need of education, whether or not they are of school age. In an era of fast-paced change, there is always something new to learn, and in most cases ignorance is not bliss.

One of the many ways in which society is changing significantly can be seen in the number of religious beliefs and practices being lived out alongside each other. For some people, this diversity adds to the richness of neighbourhoods. For others, it is a cause for concern and, in some instances, fear.

However, many of those negative reactions are founded on a lack of understanding and knowledge about religions and world views. Education on these topics is much needed. Yet an independent commission’s report into RE in England has found that, despite a legal requirement for the subject to be taught, there is a shortfall in good RE teaching, with some schools not offering the subject at all.

In this week’s War Cry, we speak to Joyce Miller, a member of the commission, about the need for all schools to provide good religious education.

Joyce explains how religion matters within society and argues that, because people live in diverse communities, they need to be able to understand the beliefs of others. She describes how RE helps students to think about the big questions of ‘what it means to be human’ and ‘how best to live in relation to other people’.

It’s an education that we all do need.

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