BHA responds to consultations on RE

11 September, 2012

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has responded to two recent consultations on Religious Education (RE). The BHA has used the submissions to call for RE to be inclusive of a wide range of religions and non-religious beliefs, including Humanism.

Last month, BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson was invited to give written evidence as an expert witness to the RE Council for England and Wales’s RE Subject Review, and this month the BHA has responded to Ofqual’s consultation on A Level reform.

In its responses, the BHA highlighted the high proportion of pupils who are not religious. The 2003 Citizenship Survey found 46% of 11-15 year olds not having a religion (44% were Christian), while a 2004 Department for Education report found 65% of 12-19 year olds are not religious.

In the Subject Review, the BHA discussed the aims of RE; the inclusion of Humanism in RE syllabuses, and space for asking the ‘bigger questions’ about religion; issues Humanists face because of the system of Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education (SACREs); assessment and qualifications; and examples of good practice, such as the ‘Humanist Perspectives’ primary and secondary courses. In the A Level consultation, the BHA again argued for a broadening of RE syllabuses, and consequently that when it comes to devising A Levels related to matters of religion or belief, it is important that a wide range of stakeholders  are consulted.

Andrew Copson commented, ‘It is vital that Religious Education is as relevant to those pupils who are not religious as it is to those who are, and with a higher and higher proportion of pupils being non-religious, this is an issue that is only growing in importance.  The consequence of this is that RE should teach about non-religious beliefs alongside religious ones, as well as questioning common assumptions about the supernatural which many religions may hold in common but which non-religious beliefs do not.

‘We are pleased that RE has become a lot more inclusive since the introduction of the 2004 non-statutory national framework, and hope that these consultations continue that trend.’


For further comment or information contact BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson on 020 3675 0959 or at

Read more about the BHA’s work on Religious Education:

Read the BHA’s response to the Ofqual consultation:

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.