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February 2015

In This Issue


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Introduction

January has been a month of preparation, as the RE Council’s new CEO – Rudi Eliott Lockhart – is due to take up his role on 2 February. Rudi has expressed great excitement at the prospect of starting his new journey in the REC, and looks forward to meeting more of the RE community over the coming months. 

Young Ambassadors for RE

The Young Ambassadors for RE team from St Bede’s Inter https://gallery.mailchimp.com/a742773f8f89e11e47d388c29/images/YA_left.jpgChurch school had the opportunity to meet MPs at an event hosted by the APPG on RE at Westminster, on 27 January 2015. The event gave MPs the chance to pledge their support for RE, and the Young Ambassadors once again excelled at championing RE to their representatives in the House of Commons. The Young Ambassadors programme has also had its first application from a Welsh school – we look forward to finding out more about their students in the coming months!

Applications to the YA scheme are assessed on a rolling basis, and so if you know of any schools which might be interested in taking part, please spread the word! Further 
information and an application form can be found on the RE Council website, and in this term’s YA newsletter

RE PD Portal


The RE PD portal is a one-stop shop for teachers of RE to find out about professional development opportunities of all kinds, the portal includes a database of courses across the UK and online. If you are offering any PD courses, workshops, or other provisions over the next academic year, please get in touch or submit your opportunity using the submissions form. You can now also follow the RE PD Portal on twitter @RE_PDPortal, to keep up-to-date with new PD opportunities. If you are a PD provider and would like to receive the half-termly call for submissions, sign up to the mailing list here

RE Quality Mark

The REQM project will be holding its second conference for schools which have achieved the REQM on Saturday 7 February in Birmingham, thanks to generous support from the Hockerill Educational Foundation, at which Rebecca Nye will be speaking about her research into children’s spirituality. More information is available on the REQM site, or by e-mailing admin@reqm.org. The REQM is available for schools of all types; further details on all aspects of the programme are on its website at www.reqm.org.

New on the RE Council website

New items on the RE Council website this month include:
  • MPs publicise their support for high quality RE: Sixteen MPs from across the main political parties took part in an All Party Parliamentary Group event to publicise their belief that good RE should be available for all young people.  

RE Regional Strategy

Based on Recommendation 4 of the 2013 Review of RE, the REC, NATRE and Culham St Gabriel’s have launched the RE Regional Strategy Pilot to work towards more robust arrangements for training and supporting teachers of RE across the country. There are now 13 RE hubs supported by CSTG and several operating independently or in partnerships with universities and NATRE, which are developing their own regional strategies, adapted and suited to their own professional development priorities; we hope that this exciting initiative will lead to real, grass-roots improvements in the quality of RE. CSTG is also supporting primary schools that are working towards an Ofsted ‘Good’, to encourage them to develop their RE, and is aiming to work with 100 primary schools in the north-east and north-west – further details of this will be published on the CSTG and RE Online websites in early 2015. 

Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day took place on 27 January 2015, this year marking 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau as well as the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia. The theme, illustrated by a candle passing between two hands, was ‘Keep the Memory Alive’. As part of the commemorations, 70 candles designed by sculptor Anish Kapoor were lit in special ceremonies across the country, the first of which was conducted by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The lighting of candles symbolically linked the 70 events taking place in each corner of the UK, and mark each of the years that has passed, while emphasising the importance of passing on the memory of those who were murdered, giving meaning to their deaths by encouraging everyone to mark the past and attempt to create a safer future. 

Carter Report on Initial Teacher Training published

The Carter Report on Initial Teacher Training has now been published following a consultation to which the REC contributed.  It makes a series of recommendations and Secretary of State Nicky Morgan  has made an initial response (give link).  The government will commission an independent working group made up of expert representatives from the sector to develop a core ITT framework; RE professionals have long recognised the need for this. The REC will seek proper representation of RE on the working group to try to make sure all trainees receive adequate preparation for teaching RE.

Teach:RE course

Culham St Gabriel’s are delighted to announce a ‘bulk buy’ offer for universities who would like ITT students to undertake the TeachRE course. Please contact kathryn@cstg.org.uk for more information about this offer. In addition, a PowerPoint presentation about the course is now available to view and use at www.teachre.co.uk

3forRE

This scheme to support those undertaking a master’s degree with an RE focus still has a very small number of places available for 2014-15. Please see www.cstg.org.uk/grants/3forre for more information.

Free RE conference: 'Energising RE 2015'

Culham St Gabriel’s are hosting a free Conference for RE teachers, taking place on 3-4 October 2015 at Wokefield Park, Reading. The theme of the conference will be ‘Energising RE: Learning from our successes | collaborating for improvement’. For more information, visit the Culham St Gabriel’s website, where an online application form will be available shortly. 

NATRE conference: 'RE: Reviving and Thriving'

NATRE are hosting a conference for all teachers of RE in Bolton on 9 may 2015. All primary, secondary and special school teachers are invited to join us at ‘RE: Reviving and Thriving conference’ a two day event which will be full of seminars and workshops featuring academics, RE professionals and practising RE teachers from all sectors. To find out how you can book your place visit the NATRE website.

2015 Spirited Arts competition

All schools are invited to submit an entry to NATRE's 2015 Spirited Arts competition, which is well underway, with entries coming in from primary and secondary schools. There is still time to take part, so visit the NATRE website and get your entry in before the 31 July 2015.

Job opportunity: 3FF Director

For 18 years, 3FF, the Three Faiths Forum, has worked to create good relations between people of different faiths, beliefs and cultures. Now we are looking for a new Director to lead the next stage of 3FF's development. We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds – people with non-religious or religious beliefs. To request an application pack, please email apply@3ff.org.uk. Deadline for applications: 23rd February (10am).

RE Today professional development webinars

RE Today has new online seminars. Teachers struggling to get out of the classroom for CPD training can now take part without leaving their desk!

This term’s primary webinar is: ‘Teaching about Islam in primary: How? Why? What?’, for teachers wishing to improve their confidence and knowledge of Islam as well as gain practical examples of engaging and effective strategies for learning.

This terms secondary webinar is on ‘Promoting British Values; the Rule of Law’, for teachers who want to find out what the new non-statutory duty to ‘promote fundamental British values as part of SMSC’ mean for the RE classroom.

Book: 'The Islamic Belief System'

The Al Khoei Foundation welcomes a new publication about Islam. After several years of research by a group of scholars under the direction of Dr M A Shomali, Director of the Islamic Centre England, a book called Islamic Belief System (ISBN: 978-1904934233) has just been published by the Institute of Islamic Studies, affiliated to Islamic Centre of England. This book comes in seven units and 240 colour pages with lots of learning activities explaining the fundamental tenets of the Muslim faith in plain and lucid language. 

'Getting to Good in Primary RE': opportunities for regional RE improvement consultants

Culham St Gabriel’s Trust and the Jerusalem Trust are supporting a new project: ‘Getting to Good in Primary RE’, a regional strategy for improvement and support. The project is about improving the quality fo RE teaching and learning in primary schools, and seeks to develop and embed improved strategies, responding to the 2013 Ofsted report on RE, and the REC’s review of RE in England 2013. There are currently vacancies for two part-time regional RE improvement consultants to join the regional strategy team. The role will include working closely with schools and local authorities to bring new CPD opporutities to new places in the north-west and Yorkshire/Humberside. To find out more about these roles, visit the CStG website.  

Hockerill Educational Foundation / NATRE Prize opens

The 2015 Competion for the "Hockerill NATRE Prize for Innovation in RE Teaching" is now open.  If you know of any RE teacher who you think should enter either write to Derek J Humphrey at info@hockerillfoundation.org.uk or ask the teacher to go to the website www.hockerillfoundation.org.uk from where the entry form can be downloaded.  Closing date 31 May 2015. 

Hockerill Educational Foundation grants open

We are now accepting applications for grants for the 2015-16 Academic year.  If you know of any collegues who are intending to follow a teaching career in RE (Primary and Secondary), either studying currently and on a two or three year course, or who will be starting their course in September then please direct them to our website at www.hockerillfoundation.org.uk for further details, guidance and an application form.  The first closing date is 31 March 2015.

News from the Hindu Council UK

The Hindu Council UK took part in a Q&A session on Hinduism at a boys’ school as part of their provisions of resources on Hinduism. The themes and topics of the questions included: hereditary Caste systems, Nazis and the Swastika, the role of temples, the importance of Gita, and the risks attached to an evolving religion like Hinduism. Jay Lakhani’s responses to and discussion of these questions have been uploaded to YouTube, and can be viewed on the Hindu Council UK Youtube Channel

Exhibition: Maps of Persia

The Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe wishes to direct attention to a new exhibition which has opened in the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, held in collaboration with the Centre for Iranian Studies at the London Middle East Institute. The maps, which come from the Dr Cyrus Ala’i Map Collection of Persia, are presented alongside other supporting material, and show Persia’s history as an important cultural cross-road in southwest and central Asia. The exhibition will be open until 21 March 2015. Further information is available on the SOAS website
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