Faith school should teach all religions, says Rabbi

A lobby group headed by a senior Reform rabbi has called for religious education to be added to the national curriculum — which would require faith schools to teach religions other than their own.

The Accord Coalition, chaired by Rabbi Jonathan Romain, wants to ensure that children at religious schools learn at least something about other faiths.

Rabbi Romain said: “At present, schools are in the strange position of being obliged to teach RE but there is no obligation as to how to teach it. This is deeply flawed and leads to numerous schools teaching their own faith to the exclusion of all others.

“It means, for instance, that a Hindu school need only teach about Hinduism, ignoring all other religions, even the majority culture. This is unacceptable in a multi-faith society and is poor preparation for good citizenship.”

All schools should teach about other faiths, even if they go on to specialise in one. “This will establish a basic level of common knowledge which will help pupils not only understand different faiths but also relate better to those around them,” he said.

His call follows a conference last week at Windsor Castle on the social impact of faith schools.

Rabbi Romain, one of the conference organisers, suggested its theme to Prince Philip during a meeting earlier this year.

    Last updated: 4:59pm, December 3 2009