RE and the EBacc
The introduction by the UK government of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) in 2010 has been seen as potentially a serious challenge to the position of Religious Studies at GCSE and A/AS level.
The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is not a new qualification. Rather, it is a new certificate that will be awarded to any student who secures good GCSE or IGCSE passes in English, maths, the sciences, a modern or ancient foreign language and a humanity – such as history or geography. It is the Government's intention that the EBacc should become one of the main measures of achievement for schools in the future.
"The English Baccalaureate will be only one measure of performance, and should not be the limit of schools' ambitions for their pupils. Schools will retain the freedom to innovate and offer the GCSEs, iGCSEs and other qualifications which best meet the needs of their pupils. Pupils will, of course, be able to achieve vocational qualifications alongside the English Baccalaureate."
As RS is not included in the EBacc subjects it seems likely that many schools may cease to offer it, particularly at GCSE, in favour of history or geography. It is also the intention of the government to discontinue GCSE short courses and, given the entries for RS, this could have a very significant impact on numbers. The law will still require RE to be part of the statutory provision but it may be difficult to enforce this in future.