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September 2015

In This Issue

Introduction
New on the REC website
Young Ambassadors
G
CSE and A level results
H
induism resources
I
nterfaith week
B
HA photography competition
R
E PD Portal

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Introduction

During the relatively quiet month of August, here in the REC office a lot of thought has been given to things to come in the new academic year. As ever at this time of year, there has been plenty of discussion and debate around GCSE and A level results. The REC will continue to work with its member organisations, Young Ambassadors, educators and schools to help others to recognise the value of RE and influence policy-makers. The success of projects such as the RE Quality Mark and the Young Ambassadors scheme, the increasing number of entries for the full course GCSE and A level in Religious Studies, and the ongoing dedication from so many of those with an interest in RE make it clear that, in spite of the ongoing challenges facing the subject, there remains a great deal to be optimistic about. 

New on the RE Council website

The departing Chair of the RE Council, Joyce Miller, reflects on the past year and the 'interesting times' to come in her final blog post on the REC website. We are all extremely grateful for the immense amount of work that she has put in to her role as Chair, and we wish her all the best for the future, and very much hope to have another opportunity to work with her again before too long.

Young Ambassadors


The REC is very pleased to announce that two new teams of Young Ambassadors will be joining the scheme from September 2015, from Queen Katherine School Kendal in Cumbria and Amery Hill School in Alton. As part of their application, both teams considered the question 'Why should we learn about each other's beliefs and values'? 

Queen Katherine School put together a 'padlet', which brings together a collection of quotes from students on the topic.

Students from Amery Hill School worked together to produce this video, which begins with a group discussion and is followed by the Young Ambassadors introducing themselves and putting forward ideas in answer to the question, with the incorporation of some thoughtful images. 

We were very pleased to hear from Tori Murphy, Director of Initial Teacher Training, Induction and RE at Archbishop Sentamu Academy in Hull, that their Young Ambassadors had been instrumental in securing the RE Quality Mark Gold award in July. Their articulacy and passion for RE were applauded, and we offer our congratulations to the students and the school for their achievement.

We will very much look forward to continuing working with and supporting the Young Ambassadors in the coming academic year.

GCSE and A Level results

Following an impressive amount of number-crunching from the RE Council's CEO, it appeared that there was a great deal to be positive about upon the release of the exam results this month. The most encouraging statistic is arguably the 110% increase in the number of entries for RS A level since 2003, which is more than that seen by any other arts, humanity or social science subject. An impressive 23.9% of entries for RS A level were awarded an A or an A*.

There were positives and negatives to be acknowledged as students received their GCSE exam results. The notable drop in entries of students for the GCSE short course in RS, down 26.8% since 2014, was a cause for concern for all in the RE world. Conversely though, and on a happier note, the number of students taking the full course in Religious Studies has increased by 5.3%, a clear illustration of the continuing popularity of the subject amongst young people. 

A few of our Young Ambassadors' schools contacted the REC to let us know of their students' exam successes. Many congratulations to Jake Chaplin and Holly Walker, whose schools informed us of their excellent A level results and who are both going on to study Philosophy and Theology in York. Broughton High School also got in touch to say that their Young Ambassadors had all achieved A*s in their Religious Studies GCSE exams, and we also offer them our congratulations!

Hinduism resource for school children and teachers 

The Hindu Council has set up a website called Questions and Answers on Hinduism with short clips addressing questions such as: Does Hinduism have many Gods? What is the caste system? Is it ok to worship God using images?
Visit the questions and answers website to watch a series of videos which explore these themes further.

Get involved with Inter Faith Week 2015

Inter Faith Week offers people of all faiths and none the opportunity to learn about different faith communities in the local area and help others understand their beliefs. It is a chance to celebrate diversity and explore both common ground and difference. People can get involved by either hosting or attending an event. Find out more from www.interfaithweek.org.

BHA Happiness photography competition


To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Happy Human symbol, the British Humanist Association is launching a photography competition on the theme of ‘Happiness’. Categories include for ages 11 under, 12-16 and 17-18, and there are also details of how schools can get further involved with the theme. Winners will receive a £300 voucher to an online photography store as well as having their entries exhibited in the Strand Gallery in Central London. Entries are due in by 15th October and more information can be found at https://humanism.org.uk/happiness2015/

RE PD Portal


The PD Portal has been updated with a number of new courses and conference which are coming up during the next academic year. More courses will be added in the second week of September so do check back again then for additional professional development opportunities. 
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