August 2015

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What’s new at the REC?

2015 has been a year of change at the RE Council, which in part explains why there has been an absence of newsletters for the past few months! Rudi Eliott Lockhart arrived as the REC’s first CEO; Sophie Agrotis, to whom we are most grateful for keeping things running smoothly in the office for two and a half years, moved on to pastures new in April; and after an interim period which saw Leanne temporarily holding the fort, Naomi Dalton has now returned in her new role as Communications and Administration Officer.

In the meantime, the end of the academic year has come and gone, and we at the REC are now looking ahead to the new term, and waiting in anticipation for this year’s GCSE and A-Level results. Thereafter, Rudi will very much be looking forward to representing the RE Council at the party conferences in September, along with colleagues from NATRE and RE Today. Much to do; much to look forward to!

Welcome, goodbye and thank you

Following elections at the AGM in May, we welcome Trevor Cooling as the new Chair of the RE Council from September. We express our immense gratitude to Joyce Miller for all of the work she has done as Chair over the past year and also to Rosemary Rivett as she steps down as Treasurer, and Deborah Weston who steps down as Company Secretary; all of these important roles involve a significant amount of work and we are extremely grateful to them for their commitment and for the time that they have given to the REC for many years.

We look forward to working with our newly-elected Treasurer, Richy Thompson and Company Secretary, Peter Ward.  There will also be a shuffle in the ranks as we say goodbye to Board members Andrew Copson, Rosemary Rivett, Ranvir Singh, Jeremy Taylor, Sandra Teacher and Deborah Weston, whom we thank for the contributions they have made to the work of the REC and for the time that they have donated.  We congratulate Aliya Azam, Sarah Lane Cawte and Phil Leivers on their re-election to the Board and welcome new Board members James Holt, Ed Pawson, Sara Perlmutter and Karamjit Singh Thind.
We extend a warm welcome also to new member organisations of the REC The Westhill Endowment Trust and The Spiritualists’ National Union.

What’s new in the RE world?

There has been great interest in the recent publication of ‘A New Settlement: Religion and Belief in Schools’, from former Education Secretary Charles Clarke and Linda Woodhead, professor in the sociology of religion at Lancaster University, which contributes to the debate on religion and belief in schools. We will be consulting with member organisations on an appropriate response to this.

Professor John Hull

It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Professor John Hull, who died peacefully in the early hours of Tuesday, 28th July, following a serious fall the previous week.
We will remember him with deep affection and respect, we celebrate his inestimable contribution to religious education and we offer our deepest sympathy to his wife Marilyn and their family.

New on the RE Council website 

Trevor Cooling has published his first blog post as Chair-elect, where he writes of his excitement at the prospect of serving as Chair of the REC, and relates some of the recent experiences that he has had in Australia.

All Party Parliamentary Group for RE

Following the General Election in May, the APPG for RE has been re-established and a new Chair has been elected.  The REC is grateful for the work that Stephen Lloyd did during his time as Chair, and is looking forward to working with the newly-elected Chair, Fiona Bruce.

RE Quality Mark conference

The third REQM conference will be held at Liverpool Hope University on 6th February 2016. This is a chance for schools which have achieved the award to share their good practice, together with those taking part in classroom based research. Dr Debra Kidd will be providing the keynote on ‘Curriculum with Conscience’.

The REQM team is delighted to announce that over 100 schools have achieved the RE Quality Mark this year, with another thirty schools due to be assessed next term.

Teacher Recruitment Campaign

The Teacher Recruitment Campaign continues to have an impact, with an increase of about 10% in applications in the last month alone. This increase is more than many other subjects have seen.
Although applications still remain 13% down on last year, this is an improvement on the figure of 23% at the beginning of the campaign; the REC is therefore delighted with the impact that the campaign is having and hopes to continue encouraging more people to train to become RE teachers into 2016.

Young Ambassadors update

The REC is delighted to welcome two new schools to their Young Ambassadors' scheme: Amery Hill School in Hampshire and Queen Katherine School in Cumbria. Both schools submitted thought-provoking student responses to the question, 'Why is it import ant to learn about other people's beliefs?'
Meanwhile, YA schools have been working with faith groups, SACREs, local councils, feeder primaries and other YA schools on many ways of supporting and promoting RE.
   They have:
  • run conferences (Broughton High, Haslingden High (Lancs) and Perrins School ((Hants)
  • developed faith trails St. Bede’s Inter-Church school (Cambs)
  • created a discussion about RE in their local press (Venerable Bede Academy (Tyne and Wear))
It is important that our committed students work with as wide a range of groups as possible in order for them to fulfil their brief as ambassadors for our subject. For example, contacts in the Lancashire police force have expressed interest in working with local YA students to explore common issues. It is hoped that others will reach out to their MEP to raise awareness of RE.
Please let REC Board member Helen Harrison know if you can offer any ideas or support for this important scheme, or put the YAs in touch with any funding streams as, at present, they have no financial support. Helen can be contacted via the REC at

AULRE conference: Belief in Dialogue

The conference will be held on 1-3 September 2015 at St Mary's University in Twickenham, and is open to all. Keynotes include Farid Panjwani talking about aspects of the Muslim educational movement, Tania ap Sion on recent Warwick research, the new Chair of the REC, Prof Trevor Cooling on Christian education and Joyce Miller on aspects of extremism.
For more information and to book, visit

NATRE: 2016 national conference

NATRE’s 2016 national conference will take place on 30th January 2016 in central London. There will be inspiring speakers, a packed programme of seminars, an exhibition of resources and support networks and the chance to chat with your fellow RE practitioners.
Tickets will go on sale in September 2015. Visit for more information.

Institute of Jainology: a talk from the Dalai Lama

The Institute of Jainology, in association with Tibet House, is hosting a talk from His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Sunday 20th September. There will also be an opportunity to submit any questions to His Holiness. Please see the website for further details:


The latest addition on the JAINpedia site (an online encyclopaedia on the Jain faith) has been written by Julia Hegewald on ‘Sacred Pavilions’, fitting well with the article on Jain Temples. Read the article here. For more information about the Institute of Jainology or the JAINpedia project, please email:

Hindu Council UK: GCSE Hinduism resources 

The Hindu Council UK has uploaded a series of YouTube videos suitable for GCSE RE in Hinduism, covering Hindu Rituals.

RE Regional Strategy

Culham St Gabriel’s Trust are pleased to report that they are now supporting thirteen regional hubs, with several other hubs having established themselves on a self-supporting basis.  They are operating very effectively to raise standards, build research-practice links and develop leadership capacity.

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 for more information about this offer. In addition, a PowerPoint presentation about the course is now available to view and use at

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 is available.  

The Shap Calendar 2015-16

The best and most comprehensive calendar of religious festivals is now available for September 2015 to December 2016. For more details, please visit the website at

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 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

RE PD Portal

Readers of the REC newsletter can receive a 15% off all RS courses offered by Hodder Education by entering the code WU0007429 at the checkout.

Teaching Islam for the New Religious Studies GCSE 2016

Presenters: Bob Stone and Victor W Watton
Location: Manchester, Birmingham, London and Leeds
Perfect for all Religious Studies teachers, this course will focus on the most numerous non-Christian religion in both the UK and the world, Islam.
For more information, visit:

Teaching Christianity for the New Religious Studies GCSE 2016

Presenters: Bob Stone and Victor W Watton
Location: London and Leeds
Perfect for teachers who haven’t taught Christianity before, this one-day course, devised by expert Religious Studies author, Victor W. Watton will explore how you can prepare to teach Christianity and examine where, when and how the religion started.
For more information, visit

Preparing for the New OCR A-level for Religious Studies

Presenters: Hugh Campbell and Richard Knight
Location: London
This one-day workshop will explore the effect of the new DfE criteria on the teaching of Religious Studies and provide you with strategies on how to approaches the new material with confidence.
For more information, visit

Preparing for the New WJEC GCSE Religious Studies Specification

Location: Llandudno and Cardiff
Navigate the broadened curriculum by joining our expert presenter on this one-day workshop designed to build your confidence ready for September 2016.
For more information, visit

Preparing for the New WJEC Edquas GCSE Religious Studies Specification

Location: Birmingham, London and Leeds
Explore the requirements of the new WJEC Eduqas specification in this one-day workshop and return to your class with a plethora of ideas on how best to deliver the new content to students of all abilities.
For more information, visit
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