- Prayer for today
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is to create a new monastic community at his London residence of Lambeth Palace. Like many experiments with innovative models of religious life, it will combine aspects ancient and modern
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- Bishops’ general secretary, Mgr Marcus Stock, to lead cash-strapped diocese of Leeds
- Cardinal condemns ‘repugnant’ slaughter of David Haines by IS as Pope Francis foresees World War III
- Cohabitees, divorcee and single parent among brides and grooms married by Pope in Vatican ceremony
- Independent Scotland would need its own papal ambassador
- If there’s a shortage of priests in Ireland, why not ordain women to the diaconate? Michael Phelan
- Christians and Yazidis in Iraq: unwanted guests in their own country John Eibner, Christian Solidarity International
- Church should rethink its attitude to adoption Katherine Backler
The former Home Secretary Charles Clarke has attacked the Government for allegedly downgrading religious education in the National Curriculum.
Mr Clarke, a former Labour education secretary, said that RE tackled extremism.
He told the BBC’s Today programme last week: “Religious education should be part of the national curriculum so that people understand in a balanced way what all religions believe and think and how they behave.”
He claimed that the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, did not want to include religious education in the National Curriculum, adding this was a “serious problem”. But a spokesman for the Department for Education hit back pointing out that RE was a compulsory part of the curriculum.
“Religious Education is vitally important to help children develop an understanding of different faiths and cultures,” said the spokesman. “It is also part of schools’ activity to meet their legal duty to promote young people’s spiritual, moral and cultural development.”
Charles Clarke, a visiting lecturer on religion and faith at Lancaster University, is co-founder of the Westminster Faith Debates, a forum for discussion about research into religion. Under Mr Gove RE was excluded from the English Baccalaureate Certificate, a performance measure at GCSE level which focuses on student attainment in key subjects, and funding for RE students training for their Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PCGE) was dropped.