Retired Catholic MP and Strictly Come Dancing star Ann Widdecombe has joined a host of top academics, Church leaders and MPs to speak out against the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Michael Gove's decision to omit GCSE Religious Education (RE) from the list of key humanities subject in the new English Baccalaureate curriculum.
Her announcement to support the campaign comes just as ‘Celebrate RE’ is launched-a month long nationwide initiative dedicated to celebrating the importance of RE in schools. Miss Widdecombe has joined with the tens of thousands of people who are talking about the campaign in their churches across the UK, and those who have already signed up to support the RE.ACT.
The RE.ACT campaign- putting religious education at the heart of humanities is designed to mobilise the Christian community and beyond to speak out on this issue and is the first time the public have been engaged in this debate.
In addition to signing the petition, ordinary members of the public are being encouraged to write personal letters to their local MPs to support the Early Day Motion on Religious Education and the English Baccalaureate and to, ultimately, put pressure on the Government to make religious education a priority once again.
Ann Widdecombe said: "Children are being deprived not only of religious teaching but of the opportunity to understand their history and culture. Biblical illiteracy, for example, makes it difficult to appreciate fully a great deal of classical literature."
Peter Kerridge, CEO of Premier Christian Media Group said: “The campaign is gaining more supporters by the day. This is an issue that’s close to everyone’s heart, whether you’re a Christian, Muslim or Hindu, we need our kids to learn about their neighbours and squash this escalating cycle of religious illiteracy.”
The campaign organised by Premier Christian Media, with the support of CARE and the Evangelical Alliance also includes other prominent Christian voices including Rt Revd John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, Professor Trevor Cooling, Bishop Dr Joe Aldred, Churches Together in England, Nola Leach, Chief Executive of Care and Steve Clifford, General Director, Evangelical Alliance.
For more information on the campaign see: www.reactcampaign.co.uk/