Christian MP Stephen Lloyd, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Religious Education and is the Liberal Democrat MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon, asked a question to the Prime Minister during 'Prime Minister's Questions' on why an important document relating to RE in schools had been delayed at No.10 and not published.
Photo from RE Council
The Prime Minister, when challenged, promised to “go into Dyno-Rod mode and try to get rid of it” if there was a blockage in his office.
Sure enough, the document was published within 36 hours. The document launched a consultation on revised criteria for exams in religious studies, which is warmly welcomed by the Religious Education Council and others.
Stephen Lloyd said: “When I learnt that there was a delay in the publication of the consultation I was more than happy to try and raise it. ... I had been informed the delay meant that in the future, schools may view RE as a less important subject if this document continued to be delayed.
In my opinion RE in schools is even more important today than it has ever been, because when it is taught properly, it informs our children about a range of faiths as well as those with none. This is crucial in my opinion as there is so much inaccurate and even misleading information from the media, the internet and others, that often leads to a profound misunderstanding of the world’s different religions and those who do not have a faith.”
Stephen concluded: “I am pleased to say that following my direct intervention the consultation was published within 36 hours by No. 10.”
The consultation has been welcomed by the RE Council of England and Wales, whose officers and member organisations have contributed to the process. The Chair, Dr Joyce Miller, wrote a letter to the Times (published 25 November) acknowledging the role Stephen played in persuading the PM to go 'into dynorod mode'. She wrote, 'What he understands is the key role that good RE plays in preparing young people in all our schools to live successfully in a world where faith and belief are, for better as well as for worse, at the top of the news on a daily basis.'