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Science and RE teachers' perspectives on the purpose of RE on the secondary school curriculum in England

Woolley, Mary, Bowie, Robert A., Sabina, Hulbert, Thomas, Caroline, Riordan, John-Paul, Revell, Lynn (2022) Science and RE teachers' perspectives on the purpose of RE on the secondary school curriculum in England. Curriculum Journal, 34 (3). pp. 487-504. ISSN 0958-5176. (doi:10.1002/curj.191) (KAR id:97969)


Renewed interest in curriculum in English schooling over the past decade has emanated from a particular focus on the place and role of knowledge in the class-room. Significant changes in policy and examination specifications have led to changes in religious educa-tion (RE). However, little is known about teachers' perspectives on the purpose of RE. We asked teach-ers of science and RE what they understood as the purpose of RE on the school curriculum. Data from 10 focus groups and a survey with 276 secondary teachers demonstrated that many secondary teach-ers of science have a different understanding to RE teachers of the purpose of RE on the school curricu-lum. Findings also show a lack of consensus from RE teachers on the purpose of RE, suggesting the impact of the knowledge turn in RE is not as strong as the Ofsted Research Review implies. Findings are signif-icant as little is known about how knowledge works across disciplinary boundaries in schools. If students are to come to a full understanding of how knowledge works, teachers need to have some understanding of how knowledge is being constructed and utilised in other curriculum subjects. Knowledge of the intended purpose of RE is important for respectful co-existence of subjects on the curriculum and essential when RE is declining as a subject in secondary schools.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/curj.191
Uncontrolled keywords: inter-disciplinary learning (IDL), knowledge of curriculum, Ofsted research review, purpose of religious education, religious education
Subjects: L Education
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Funders: John Templeton Foundation (
Depositing User: Sabina Hulbert
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2022 08:47 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 19:07 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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