Statement on the religious studies GCSE judicial review
There has been a high court ruling on the new religious studies (RS) GCSE curriculum.
There is no problem with the RS GCSE subject content. Today’s judgment related to the introduction to the RS GCSE subject content. It concluded that a particular paragraph suggested that a school could rely entirely on the content of an RS GCSE syllabus to discharge its obligations with respect to teaching the basic curriculum subject of RE at key stage 4. The judge found that whilst that might be the case, it might not always be the case - and so it was wrong. The department will act to correct any misunderstanding.
Despite the claims in the BHA’s press notice, the judge explicitly said that there was nothing unlawful in the RS GCSE subject content itself. The judge made clear that there was “no challenge” to the content of the GCSE. He also made clear that it would be lawful to give priority to the study of Christianity in the curriculum if we wanted to do that.
The judge made clear that there was no requirement in either domestic or human rights law to give “equal air time” to all shades of belief (directly contradictory to what BHA have said in its press release).
This judgment does not require the department to amend the content or structure of the reformed RS GCSE.
Nothing in this judgement affects our previously issued guidance on RE for faith schools.