A new survey has revealed three-quarters of parents discuss life after death, the origins of the universe, and ideas affecting morality and decision-making with their children.
Carried out by Culham St Gabriel’s Trust, the survey asked around 2,000 parents across the UK their thoughts on the importance of religious education, in order to understand how often, and in what ways parents in the UK engage with their children on issues relating to religious and non-religious worldviews.
Around eight in ten parents said they discuss beliefs about the origins of life and the universe with their children, as well as how beliefs affect people’s behaviour and decision-making.
It also found that around three in five parents teach their children a religious or non-religious worldview, including agnostic, atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu Dharma and Muslim perspectives.
Schools also emerged as the one of the main sources of their children’s knowledge on different religions and worldviews via RE.
More than 60 percent of parents surveyed regarded the subject as “important” while only 15 percent said they didn’t see the value of it.
Speaking to YCW, Dr Kathryn Wright, chief executive of Culham St Gabriel’s Trust, said most parents were supportive of RE but were worried about to a lack of specialist teachers in schools.
“Parents are concerned that perhaps there might be a slight bias in some way, or whether the teachers can handle complex issues, and so on. All of that was tied into the fact that they wanted people who were well qualified to teach the subject.
“We’re lobbying along with the Religious Education Council and the National Association of RE Teachers for a national plan for the subject, which would promote this approach to the subject that parents clearly want, but also would provide through further funding for qualified teachers to teach the subject.”
She concluded: “The research shows that a strong majority are supportive of the religion and worldviews approach to RE – particularly the idea that every child has their own unique worldview. RE teachers are crucial in helping young people understand and explore these different worldviews and ultimately find their place in modern Britain and the wider world.”