Including secular philosophies such as humanism in locally agreed syllabuses for religious education

Jacqueline Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The 2004 National Framework for Religious Education (NFRE) innovatively recommended that secular philosophies such as humanism, or secular worldviews, be included in locally agreed syllabuses for religious education (RE) in England. However, the NFRE is a non‐statutory document, and Agreed Syllabus Conferences (ASCs) and Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (SACREs), the bodies responsible for RE in each local authority (LA) in England, are not obliged to respond to its recommendations. This article reports the responses of 80 LAs to the recommendation to include secular worldviews, and examines the range of mechanisms for including secular worldviews across 27 agreed syllabuses. The author discusses key issues to consider when revising agreed syllabuses to include secular worldviews and concludes that, while there is not yet a best model for inclusion of secular worldviews, many locally agreed syllabuses are valuable in pointing ways forward.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-18
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Religious Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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