The Commission on Religious Education has been established to review the legal, education, and policy frameworks for religious education (RE). This review will be a wide-ranging, inclusive and evidence-based process designed to inform policy makers. The ultimate aim will be to improve the quality and rigour of religious education and its capacity to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain.
The establishment of the Commission comes at a critical time for religious education, and its work will be vital. A series of recent reports have noted the state of religious education with increasing concern, making a thorough review of the subject essential. The Commission’s work has been made even more essential by the Government’s programme of educational reform. The current intention for full academisation of schools means that there will be severe implications for Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education (SACREs). The Commission on Religious Education will review this challenge along with the broader education and policy issues that affect religious education. By doing so, the Commission hopes to provide a new vision for the subject.
Independence of the Commission
The Commission has been established by the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC). The REC will provide the secretariat for the Commission. The Commission will, however, be independent of the REC and will be entirely responsible for its reports and recommendations.
The terms of reference for the Commission
The Commission’s terms of reference have been set by the REC. The terms of reference were extensively consulted on among REC member organisations before being approved by the REC Board. While the REC has set the Commission’s terms of reference, it is entirely up to the Commissioners to decide how to operate within these terms of reference. The full terms of reference for the Commission can be found here.
The appointment of commissioners
The REC board oversaw search for commissioners. The 14 commissioners were selected after a lengthy process of consultation with REC member organisations over the categories of expertise most necessary to be covered. They were all selected as individuals with relevant experience and expertise, with none of them asked to sit as a representative for any interest group. Biographies of the 14 commissioners can be found here.
The Commission was launched on Friday 8th July 2016. The press release accompanying the launch of the Commission can be found here. The Commissioners have been asked to prepare an interim report in mid-2017 and a final report in mid-2018.