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High Court rules in favour of humanists on Religious Studies

The BHA said that the RE syllabus was too narrow (Laraine Weschler/Republican-American via AP)

The High Court has ruled in favour of the British Humanists Association (BHA) after it launched legal action against the education secretary for leaving “non-religious world views” out of the GCSE curriculum.

Three families, supported by the British Humanist Association, brought the case against Nicky Morgan, arguing she had taken a “skewed” approach to Religious Studies.

Mr Justice Warby ruled that there had been “a breach of the duty to take care that information or knowledge included in the curriculum is conveyed in a pluralistic manner”.

Changes to the content of the Religious Studies GCSE were announced last February.

BHA chief executive Andrew Copson said: “The law is clear that when teaching about religions and beliefs, schools should follow a broad and balanced syllabus which includes both religious and non-religious world views like humanism on an equal footing.”

Since the changes to the syllabus were made there have been complaints that it prioritises Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism.

Among the religious leaders urging the Government to include humanism in the new syllabus is the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

One of the parents, Kate Bielby, who wanted the syllabus reviewed said: “I completely recognise the importance of children learning about the different religions, especially in our increasingly diverse society.

“What I object to is the lack of parity between religious beliefs and non-religious world views in the school curriculum, which in the eyes of children may well lead to the belief that religion, in whatever form, has a monopoly on truth and on morality.

“This is not accurate, it reflects neither the views of the population nor the traditions of the country, and we shouldn’t be encouraging our children to believe it.”