STUDENTS in Gibraltar are now being offered an alternative to GCSE Religious Education (RE), meaning they will not be a qualification down if they opt out of the class.

From this school year, General Studies will be taught to pupils in government schools that do not wish to take RE for reasons of conscience. Up until now these students were not able to take a replacement subject.

The move is the result of a campaign led by Dave Gibbins, secretary of the Secular Humanist Society of Gibraltar (SHSG).

In February the group requested a meeting with the Department of Education (DoE) to discuss the matter, but were told there would be no change to the policy.

The DoE have now done a U-turn, enabling parents to write to their children’s school stating they wish to opt out of RE and opt into General Studies.

In a statement, the SHSG said: “If your child is not religious or has no interest in the subject and wishes to do something else now is the time to act. The SHSG supports freedom of religion but also freedom from religion.

“We feel it is important for people to be aware that RE is not defined as a ‘core subject’ under the Education (National Curriculum) Regulations, 1991 as has been claimed, and opting out is a simple process.

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