BHA submits response to the Governments review of the National Curriculum in England

8 April, 2011

The BHA has today submitted its response to the government’s review of the National Curriculum in England.

The response advises the Government to:

  • Include Religious Education (RE) as part of the review in order to make RE a National Curriculum subject, which includes a broad and balanced curriculum about different religious and non-religious beliefs, including Humanism
  • Include Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education, including Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), as a compulsory part of the National Curriculum and a subject to which all children are entitled
  • Include evolution, the most important idea underpinning biological science, as a compulsory subject in the primary curriculum and throughout secondary science
  • Include teaching on the value of science as a way of finding out knowledge
  • Maintain Citizenship Education on the National Curriculum

Education Campaigns Officer Jenny Pennington commented, ‘the curriculum review is a fantastic opportunity to ensure that all children are able to access the good quality education they need to take their place in society.

‘It is essential that anyone who is passionate about these issues also submits a response to the review so that all children are able to learn about the range of beliefs in society through national curriculum RE, to stay safe through good quality compulsory sex and relationship education, to gain a strong understanding of one of the most important ideas in science, evolutionary theory, and to develop as responsible citizens through National Curriculum Citizenship education.

‘We are disappointed that despite assurances from the Government that they would be including RE and SRE in the review, as well as the pressing need for all pupils to have access to objective RE and good quality SRE, the subjects are currently not being considered as part of the review. We urge the Government to reconsider this position and urge all BHA supporters to submit a response to the consultation calling for the Government to do this.’


The BHA’s submission to the review is available to download here.

Information about how to quickly and easily structure and submit a response to the consultation is available here

On 19th July 2010 in the House of Commons, Michael Gove stated, “As part of our curriculum review later this year, we shall address both religious education and sex and relationship education”

Commenting on the Curriculum Review when it was announced in January, BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:

‘It would be a tragedy if Religious Education did not form part of this curriculum review because of its present, peculiar status as a statutory subject which is not part of the national curriculum.

‘Current arrangements for RE mean it can be patchy in quality, and that non-religious perspectives such as Humanism are often not taught at all. Properly taught and examined, RE has the potential not only to be a rigorous introduction to the diverse philosophical heritage of humanity but also a subject where, introduced and engaging with a range of religious and non-religious beliefs and values, young people can refine their own developing worldviews. It can be a hugely important subject which has the potential to greatly enrich young people’s lives, but the current system, including the current legislative framework, prevents it from doing so. That is why it is so important that the current arrangements are scrutinised by the review, and RE gains the status of a national curriculum subject.’

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.

For more information contact Jenny Pennington on 020 7462 4993