Exams watchdog faces legal fight over humanism
The Government's exams watchdog faces legal action over its refusal to allow the study of humanism in the religious studies GCSE.
The British Humanist Association (BHA) has instructed solicitors to lodge a claim in the High Court against the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), alleging the decision is discriminatory. The exam board Oxford and Cambridge and Royal Society of Art (OCR) had planned to include humanism as part of its religious studies syllabus. However, it has now received a ruling saying it cannot go ahead.
Andrew Copson, director of education at the BHA, said the stance "will be a great disappointment to the teachers, parents and pupils who were as pleased as we were when OCR included the option of humanism in their GCSE. Its inclusion contributes to making religious education more meaningful for the vast majority of young people who are not religious and introduces invaluable perspectives from which all pupils benefit."
Prominent British humanists have backed the BHA's initiative. A C Grayling, the author and professor of philosophy, said: "The humanist tradition is a rich and important subject of study and children deserve the opportunity to engage with it. If schools are teaching about religious views they must also teach about humanist ones and all moves towards a more widespread acceptance of this should be welcomed not opposed."
The agony aunt Claire Rayner added: "Children must be give the opportunity to learn about humanism as a belief system as well as about religion. Although humanism has made great progress in the last few years to improve religious education, there is still a lot of prejudice against our full inclusion and it is sad to see it surfacing again."
A spokeswoman for Ofqual, the new independent exams regulatory body, said: "The subject criteria for the GCSE in religious studies require the study of one or more religions. Non-religious philosophies such as humanism may also be studied but not to the total exclusion of religion."
The legal action has been taken against the QCA as Ofqual at present is only an interim body. The BHA said that by going to court now it hoped to overturn the exclusion of humanism before a review of the curriculum in five years.
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
- 1 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 2 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 3 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 4 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...
£19200 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...