Religion: Young turn back on moral message

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The Independent Online
Schools are spending more time on religious education, but the increase is not helping pupils' spiritual development, according to a study published yesterday.

The Ofsted report found that nine out of 10 primary schools and eight out of 10 secondaries surveyed were meeting their legal duty to teach RE to all pupils, except those withdrawn by their parents. Only a year ago, more than half of schools nationally were breaking the law, with secondaries the worst offenders.

However, the Ofsted study of 14 local education authorities found that, despite many improvements, there were still some weaknesses in the quality of teaching and courses. Though most pupils were now learning the facts about a range of faiths, schools were not using the lessons to encourage moral and spiritual development, the report said. "While pupils are learning about religion few are learning from religion."

Teaching was also variable within schools, with some staff unenthusiastic about teaching RE. The report recommended schools consider using specialist staff to teach a range of classes.