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April 2014

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Introduction

March has been another busy month for the RE community. There has been increasingly positive media coverage across many national news platforms since the launch of the APPG on RE’s report into good community relations, including Chloe Hamilton’s comment piece in the Independent. The RE Council, RE Today and NATRE shared a stand at the Education Show at NEC Birmingham and had a very successful few days promoting the value of RE to teachers, senior leaders and other education professionals. 

APPG on RE

The report of the most recent inquiry by the APPG on RE was launched at Westminster on 17 March. Entitled 'RE and good community relations' and written by Dr Joyce Miller, it is available on the RE Council website, where a transcript of the launch will also be published shortly. There has been considerable media interest with articles in major newspapers and on the BBC website and a number of interviews have taken place on local radio stations. A longer report is currently being prepared and the RE Council will explore the topic at its next meeting in May.

Young Ambassadors for RE

There has been continued interest in the Young Ambassadors for RE programme, and the RE Council will be accepting rolling applications throughout the year. Further information about the scheme can be found on the RE Council website. Young Ambassadors from Broughton Business and Enterprise College gave an excellent presentation to members of the APPG on RE and guests at the launch of the new report on RE’s contribution to good community relations. Current Young Ambassadors are working on organising the 2014 YA conference, following the success of the initial conference in October 2013.  

RE Quality Mark

The REQM was set up to acknowledge and celebrate high quality RE practice and the award has identified colleagues doing outstanding work in many settings. In order to take this further the REQM is working with four universities and 21 schools to build on high quality practice. RE leaders including headteachers are now taking part in action based classroom research. They are working with academics at the universities of Chester, Canterbury, Liverpool Hope, Worcester and East Anglia to trial new ways of working in the classroom. This work is sitting in the framework of academic research and it is hoped will be the start of new ways of developing practice in RE. This project is generously funded by Culham St Gabriel’s.

RE Council website

Updates to the RE Council website this month include:

New NATRE membership is now live

The National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) in collaboration with RE Today Services is delighted to inform all REC members that it has launched the new NATRE membership this month. As part of the new membership there will be additional benefits on offer which will allow access to RE advisers, discounts on our range of professional development courses and publications, free monthly downloadable resources, access to webinars, national RE conference and much more. This is in addition to our current offer of the REtoday magazine, REsource, a curriculum booklet and, in some cases, the British Journal of Religious Education (BJRE). As dedicated ambassadors of RE you may be interested in our Professional package which is most suitable for anyone with a professional interest in RE, or you can support teachers of RE and RE in schools by informing them of our exciting range of membership packages. More information is available on the NATRE website.

Your school could win £600 and £600 for the teacher!

The Hockerill Educational Foundation and the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) have joined forces to provide the educational world with a new prize which recognises the work and dedication of those who teach Religious Education in both primary and secondary RE. This prize will be awarded to the school / RE Department / RE Teacher that has demonstrated the ability to deliver a new and exciting module or course of study on religion or religions which is based on sound educational principles, is at an appropriate level for the children’s development stage and encourages both critical thinking and enjoyment of the work. The deadline is 31st May for information on how to apply visit The Hockerill Foundation website.

Association of Christian Teachers: new website

The Association of Christian Teachers has launched its new website and RE Council members may be interested in taking a look at www.christians-in-education.org.uk and/or following us on twitter at twitter.com/ACTClive

3FF launches workshops in primary schools

3FF are delighted to announce the launch of our flagship ‘Encountering Faiths and Beliefs’ workshop for years 4-6.  The sessions follow a similar format to our award-winning workshops for secondary schools: an expert 3FF facilitator invites three trained volunteer speakers from different backgrounds to share their personal stories on how their beliefs impact their daily life around a set of themes such as festivals or key practices.  As the recent RE APPG report made clear, encountering others from different backgrounds is an essential aspect of good RE.  Further details are available on the 3FF website.

New Teach RE website

Culham St Gabriel's are delighted to have launched the new Teach RE website, www.teachre.co.uk. This provides a portal for all those who want to teach RE, are already teaching RE and those who have to teach RE. It provides information on routes into RE teaching, case studies about teaching RE, continuing professional development and the Teach RE course. 

Sea of Faith Network conference

Sea of Faith Network will be holding its annual conference, “Making Connections” at Leicester University, 18-20 July 2014. Speakers include Derek McAuley, Unitarian and Free Christian Churches; Keith Porteous Wood, National Secular Society; and Pippa Evans, Sunday Assemblies. More information about the conference is available on the Sea of Faith Network website

Religion & Philosophy club resources from Sea of Faith Network

The Sea of Faith Network will be providing resources for Secondary School Religion and Philosophy Clubs. Material for 40 standalone sessions will be available for download free of charge from July-August 2014. Keep an eye on the Sea of Faith Network website for more information. 

Sea of Faith Network sponsored sixth-form conference

Sea of Faith Network is sponsoring a conference for sixth-formers, entitled ‘Is religion only for those who can switch off their brains?’. The conference will be held at Bath Spa University, 8-9 July 2014 for students invited from schools in Bath & North-East Somerset. 

Teachers' Enterprise in RE conference

The Teachers’ Enterprise in Religious Education celebrates its Fifteenth Anniversary with a conference on the Catholic approach to other faiths for teachers, and a Mass of Thanksgiving. The conference will take place on 27th June 2014 with chief celebrant Cardinal Vincent Nichols. Further information will follow on the TERE website

ZTFE celebrates Jamsheedi NoRuz

Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe (ZTFE) has been celebrating the ancient Iranian Zoroastrian festival of Jamsheedi NoRuz (Zoroastrian New Year) on spring equinox for 108 years!  A Jashan (thanks giving ceremony) was be performed by our Ervad Sahebs (Zoroastrian priests) in the Zartoshty Brothers Hall followed by a Maatchi (fire ceremony) in the Setayash Geh (prayer room).  The Haft Sheen table, which was on display, was prepared by our Iranian Zoroastrian members  and included eggs painted by the young children during their NoRuz Party on Sunday 9th March 2014.

BBC Religions & Ethics celebrates Jamsheedi NoRuz with Shappi Khorsandi

BBC Religions and Ethics together with the well known Iranian comedian Shappi Khorsandi filmed the Jamsheedi NoRuz (Zoroastrian spring vernal equinox new year) at the Zoroastrian Centre, Harrow, on Friday 21st March 2014 . It was broadcast on BBC1 on Sunday 30th March 2014 and is available on BBC iPlayer.  BBC CBeebies also broadcast 'Lets Celebrate NoRuz' on Friday 21st March 2014. Further information and activities for children are available on the BBC website

Noah: resources by Damaris

Damaris has published new free resources about the story of Noah, in response to the Darren Aronofsky film which is due to be released in cinemas in April. The resources are appropriate to a wide range of community groups and built around clips from the film. They include: video features featuring clips from the film, a Leader’s guide for those wishing to screen the film, thematic videos ideal for use in school assemblies, and question packs for reflections on the story of Noah. The resources are available for downloading from the Damaris website

BBC: 'A Question of Faith'

On 27th March 2014, presenter Angelika Bell was joined by a group of students to explore some big questions of faith from a Christian, Muslim and non-believer perspective. They asked: can God speak to us today? Why does God allow suffering? Is Marriage out-dated? Where does religion stand on homosexuality? And what happens when we die? The programme is available on BBC iPlayer until 3rd April. 

'Common Ground between Islam and Buddhism'

In the context of the World Interfaith Harmony Week, The Matheson Trust will host the premiere of a documentary directed by Mustafa Gouverneur, as part of the Common Ground initiative. The screening will take place at the Friends House on Euston Road, 4th April at 7pm, followed by a question and answer session with Reverend Prof. Kemmyo Taira Sato and Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi. Tickets cost £10 and further information is available on The Matheson Trust website. This event may be of interest to teachers of RE. 
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