Today’s news review looks at the welcome increase in the number of teenagers who go on to university as well as religious education lessons in secondary schools.
Today, Monday 18 September, UCAS released figures that show teenagers in England are now more likely to go to university than ever before. The entry rate for 18-year-olds, typically school leavers, in England is now 33.3%, up 0.8 percentage points on last year. This means one in three teenage school leavers now go on to university.
This is obviously good news and shows that reforms to the sector are working, but was only covered by PA and the I newspaper (p.13).
We welcome these findings by UCAS and we will continue to invest in young people so that every child, regardless of background, has the opportunity to achieve their potential and is equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to compete in a global workplace.
Yesterday, Sunday 17 September, the RE Council and the National Association of RE published research that suggested more than a quarter of England’s secondary schools do not offer religious education.
RE is part of schools’ activity to meet their legal duty to promote young people’s spiritual, moral and cultural development. It is up to individual schools to determine how to deliver the content of their religious education syllabus – whether this is in religious education classes or alongside other topics.
As Geoff Barton of the Association of School and College Leaders has pointed out in the press, schools could be teaching about RE in citizenship lessons, assemblies or conferences. He called the suggestion that schools are breaking the law a “gross oversimplification”.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
The Government firmly believes in the importance of religious education. Good quality RE can develop children's knowledge of the values and traditions of Britain and other countries, and foster understanding among different faiths and cultures.
Religious education remains compulsory for all state-funded schools, including academies and free schools, at all key stages and we expect all schools to fulfil their statutory duties.