Politics should replace religious studies in schools, youth poll findings

The founder of a political youth platform says religion should be taught as part of history but not as a ‘standalone subject’.

In a survey commissioned by political youth platform Shout Out UK, nearly 60% of the British public believe that religious studies should be replaced by politics at secondary school.

In the survey of 2,000 participants, more that 75% said that they felt they had left school with little or no political knowledge.

A further 92% said they believed politics should be a compulsory subject in the national curriculum, with 57% of those surveyed saying it should replace religious studies.

Furthermore, 84% stated that most of what they knew had to be learned from sources outside education, such as family and the internet.

When quizzed on personal knowledge of the voing system, only 36% of respondents between 18 and 25 said they understood how the voting system worked, with 58% saying they had previously mixed up voting for a local MP with voting for a prime ministerial candidate in a general election.

When asked the question, “Do you think having knowledge of British politics would have helped you after leaving school?”, 77% answered yes.

Of the people asked, 81% thought politics should be a compulsory subject at secondary school level, and then become an optional subject at GCSE and A level.

Matteo Bergamini, founder of Shout Out UK, said: “It is baffling that politics has been overlooked as a compulsory area of learning. How can we expect the young people of this country to engage with the system in the long run when not even half know how the voting system works?

“People talk about the disconnect between young people and politics in the UK – I think that teaching it in schools is the first big step towards fixing this.”

Mr Bergamini also said it was “fantastic” such a high proportion of the public wanted to replace religious studies with politics.

He said: “Religion has shaped our country and deserves a place in the curriculum as part of history, but not as a standalone subject.

“There are far more important things to learn, like how our democracy works.”

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