I like the new spec from what I can see, I've recently become a little frustrated with how RE is taught in GCSE.
Quite often it seems religious believers are portrayed as these strange units that hold lots of eclectic beliefs that seem to have not impact on one another. Instead of passionate, intelligent people trying to commune with God.
And sadly the major cause, in my mind, for this has been due to the large number of non-specialist teachers who find themselves teaching RE - often because they have a lesson free on their time-table. By adapting the course material to suit the knowledge base of the teachers teaching it, which does make sense don't get me wrong, we have unintentionally diluted religious beliefs to - a quote here and there.
I am a specialist RE teacher and my degree in is Christian Applied Theology and so I am very well versed in using the Bible as a tool for teaching, I can cite Bible passages and cross reference them. But even I know I would struggle having to do the same for a different religion other than Christianity and I already have existing subject knowledge. This is why I do really sympathise with non-specialist - as I read the requirements for the new spec to be more focused on textual knowledge and theology - both of which are not something one can just 'pick up'.
My suggestion, which I know wouldn't be a normal response for any other subject, is for the government or another group to produce a subject knowledge booklet based on the new scheme - aimed at non-specialist teachers and other groups need to provide subject knowledge teaching for teachers too. As long as we have teachers whose subject knowledge is only slightly more than the students they are teaching then we're never going to move RE to the 'rigourous' and academic position it actually deserves.
Presently, I am happy with the suggested changes and believe they will positive for RE and they students.
Jason Wood (RE Teacher - Abbot Beyne High School).