- Battle lines drawn
This week produced the clearest evidence yet that the Synod Fathers are sharply divided between those who are supporting Pope Francis in his efforts to present a more pastoral vision of the Church and those determined first and foremost to emphasise its moral teaching
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- Burke confirms rumours he is to leave Vatican's top court for Order of Malta
- Nichols says synod is developing pastoral language and opening pathways for divorced and remarried
- Catholic head teachers call for more support as recruitment dries up
- Church backs ecumenical campaign for organ donation as ethical concerns are addressed
- Curious muddle of Lectionary translations Philip Endean SJ
- Synod final document is a setback for Francis' reforms – for now Elena Curti in Rome
- Annulments can be far from merciful Bill Wright
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.