January 2014

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2013, the 40th anniversary of the RE Council, has been a year of challenges but also of successes for the RE community. At the beginning of the year, it was clear we would have a lot of work on our hands to safeguard the future of the subject. Now looking back at the year, it is clear that the RE community has pulled together to make welcome progress in the direction of that goal. The RE Council saw great support from its members and friends in spring with the 40th Anniversary Sponsored Walks. Throughout summer and autumn preparations for the publication of the RE Review were in full swing, and the autumn and winter have seen good media coverage of RE, and a new inquiry launched by the APPG. As we go into 2014, plans to extend the Young Ambassador for RE scheme will bring more opportunities for students and teachers to advocate for the subject.  

RE Council website

New items on the website include:
  • APPG on RE launches new inquiry – The APPG on RE held the first oral evidence for its new inquiry into RE’s contribution to good community relations.
  • RE Review dissemination events – accounts of the dissemination events for the RE Review report are now online, along with some of the speakers’ presentations.
Some planned developments for January are:
  • New Year Blog - The chair of the RE Council, John Keast OBE, will be publishing his thoughts on 2013 and the year ahead in the Blog from the Chair section of the website.
  • The PD Portal – the PD portal will go live in mid-January. The portal includes the CPD handbook, links to useful articles and websites, and a database of Professional Development opportunities.
  • Young Ambassadors for RE applications open – the Young Ambassadors for RE scheme will soon start accepting applications from schools in England and Wales.


The All Party Parliamentary Group on RE has initiated a new inquiry into the contribution of RE to good community relations.  Led by Dr Joyce Miller, the inquiry will include three sessions where oral evidence is presented to MPs, supplemented by written evidence, and its outcome will be a short publication of good practice recommendations.  The second and third sessions will take place at Westminster on 27 January and 24 February from 5 to 7 p.m.; to request an invitation or for further information please email

Young Ambassadors for RE

Rolling applications for the Young Ambassadors for RE scheme will open in early January, and an application pack will be available for download on the RE Council website. The pilot scheme in 2013 provided exciting opportunities for the students involved to give their views on RE to policy makers and MPs, as well as benefiting their schools through the enhanced profile their involvement has given the subject. RE Council members are delighted with the success of the scheme so far, having seen innovative and inspiring work by the Young Ambassadors both in their local areas and on a national level. 

RE Quality Mark

The first national RE Quality Mark conference takes place on February 8th 2014 when Mark Chater will be the keynote speaker and teachers will share their expertise through workshops.
The REQM team is grateful to Culham St Gabriel's for providing funding to support RE Quality Mark Schools to undertake RE classroom based research. A small pilot has taken place which will now be extended to more schools. There has been a very encouraging response to the request for expressions of interest  in classroom based research which shows that  RE teachers are continually looking to develop their practice. More information is available on the website:  

Face to Faith tackles hate speech in the classroom

Face to Faith's December focus is on tackling hate speech in our communities. We have connected over 50 classrooms in our video conferences and online community to share their experiences of hate speech, what their faiths and beliefs teach them about compassion for others and what they can do to stand up to hate speech in their communities.

Learn more about our campaign and download free human rights resources here: Follow Face to Faith on Twitter @face_to_faith

Learn Jainism

The Institute of Jainology's Education site, holds a wealth of Educational Material including lesson plans, how to videos and educational games. These were recently used in a Religious Education session on Jainism for Year 5 at Elm Grove School in Kenton, Harrow and were found to be very useful.

RE Today Services director of education & NATRE executive officer retires

After 13 years as an RE adviser in the RE Today team, Rosemary Rivett has retired. She taught RE for 23 years in three schools, in Derbyshire, Lancashire and Worcestershire before joining the charity, and in her work at RE Today she particularly enjoyed leadership as Director of Education in the adviser team, and over the last 7 years in the NATRE exec as Executive Officer.
Rosemary has been a true asset to the world of RE, who has been integral in many of the developments that RE has made over the years. Rosemary will continue to serve as a member of the REC Board.  

Spirited Arts 'Art in Heaven' 2014

NATRE’s 11th annual ‘Art in Heaven’ competition is now open and taking entries from schools nationally. All pupils aged 4-19  are encouraged to get creative using drawing, painting, art, video, sculpture or other media. There are over 30 prizes and web uploads and commended entries.
There are five themes to choose from, to find our more visit

Teach RE course

This newly updated distance learning course from Culham St Gabriel's provides opportunities for those already teaching or planning to teach RE in any type of school, primary or secondary phase. The modular structure means that trainees can tailor the course to their own needs in order to develop their subject knowledge, but also apply their understanding to classroom settings. The course costs £195, however there are still a limited number of funded places available for HLTAs. For further information about the course please contact

3forRE scheme

Culham St Gabriel’s is delighted to announce that it is now partnering with three more universities: Bishop Grosseteste, Canterbury Christchurch and the Institute of Education, University of London. The scheme enables teachers and TAs to apply for funding to help them gain an MA qualification with an RE focus. For further information about this scheme which supports teachers who are considering a Masters qualification please see

3FF Interfaith and Intercultural facilitation training

3FF will be running interfaith and intercultural facilitation training on Friday 10th January 2014. The training is designed to enhance the skills and confidence of community professionals / volunteers with basic facilitation skills. costs £75 and tickets are available from Eventbrite. If you would be interested in attending 3FF's 'Interfaith and Intercultural Facilitation' training in future, but cannot on this occasion, please email Debbie Danon

Westminster Faith Debates 2014

The Westminster Faith Debates, organised by Charles Clarke and Linda Woodhead, will focus this year on global religious trends. Debates, which run from February to May will include topics such as “What is driving sectarian violence in the wake of the Arab Spring?”, “Are attempts to promote worldwide religious freedom naïve or necessary?” and “Do the benefits of engaging religion for development outweigh the dangers?”. Further information and tickets for each event can be found on the Westminster Faith Debates website, or by telephoning Peta Ainsworth on 01524 510 826. 
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