School League Tables

The Government has caused a stir this week with the appearance of school league tables which incorporate its new performance measure of the English Baccalaureate, comprising grade A*-C GCSEs or equivalent passes in five core subjects: English, mathematics, a science, a language and a humanity. Government’s definition of a humanity excludes religious education and other disciplines which are deemed to be ‘easier’.

On behalf of The Sun, YouGov polled online a representative sample of 1,518 Britons aged 18 and over on 11-12 January, asking them which GCSE subjects should count towards a school’s league table position. The results have been published at:

Religious studies came fifteenth out of twentieth in the list of subjects offered by YouGov, attracting 22% support. This was well behind the front-runners: mathematics (86%), English language (85%), science (79%), English literature (67%), history (66%), geography (64%), modern languages (61%), and information and communication technology (55%). Dance came bottom (with 8%).

Backing for religious studies was lower among men than women, the under-40s than the over-40s, non-manual than manual workers, and Liberal Democrat than Conservative or Labour voters. There was no major regional variation.

Another recent survey, by ComRes for Premier Media on 15-16 December 2010, reported that 30% of the general public wanted religious education to be a core GCSE subject, with 56% opposed and 14% undecided. See

British Religion in Numbers: All the material published on this website is subject to copyright. We explain further here.

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