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March 2015

In This Issue


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Introduction

Throughout February, the RE Council’s new CEO – Rudi Eliott Lockhart – has been getting to know the REC’s members, and representing RE to education professionals and policy makers, including at the London Festival of Education yesterday. Following the news of bursaries for trainee RE teachers, the RE Council is currently busy working to recruit and support new teachers of RE, and a Steering and Monitoring group for Teacher Recruitment has been established this month to oversee the work of 3:nine Communications in promoting RE teaching as a career. Further updates on this campaign will be shared next month. 

Young Ambassadors for RE

The RE Council champions RE at all levels - from students and teachers, to politicians and policy makers. The Young Ambassador scheme gives students aged 11 - 18 opportunities to:
  • share their enthusiasm and interest for RE and gain leadership experience 
  • give their perspective to adults who work to support RE at the highest levels, such as the RE Council and MPs in parliament 
  • develop skills in communicating successfully to a wide range of audiences 
  • build up relevant experience for college, UCAS or job applications 
  • meet and debate with other young people about why RE matters 
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

On 7 February, the second RE Quality Mark conference was held in Birmingham. Generously funded by the Hockerill Foundation, the conference was attended by 40 teachers, and gave the opportunity to share and learn from each other’s examples of innovative and challenging RE in their schools.  Also at the conference, the new REQM website was launched, which now includes a geographical map of all schools which have achieved the award across the country. The REQM is available for schools of all types; further details on all aspects of the programme are on its website at  reqm.org, or by e-mailing admin@reqm.org

New on the RE Council website

New items on the RE Council website this month include:

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. On 24 April the hub leaders will be coming together to report progress, share their great ideas and explore plans for the future, as well as advise CSTG about the sustainability of hubs and how they could be supported so that they can continue to have a good impact on raising standards in RE. Upcoming hub events include:  The London RE Hub Conference to be held at the Ismaili Centre, South Kensington on Saturday, 28th March 2015.

'Jesus in words and pictures': KCL conference for teachers and students

The Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s College London will be holding a conference for teachers and A-Level students on 12 March 2015. The conference explores the presentation of Jesus in the New Testament Gospels and in film, and is designed for teachers of, and students on, A-Level RS courses which have a focus on the Gospels. Students will have the opportunity to hear from leading scholars based at KCL and there will also be a screening of clips from a new series of films about Jesus by the Lumo Project, including a Q&A session with the director. The conference is free, and booking is advised. For more information please visit the KCL website

Open letter to 'IS' from Muslim scholars

Over 120 Muslim scholars from around the world have signed an open letter to the leaders of the self-declared Islamic State, its fighters and supporters. The letter denounces the actions of ‘IS’ and uses the Quran to refute their claims of legitimacy and the justification of their brutality under Sharia law. Imam Monawar Hussain, founder and director of the Oxford Foundation, is one of the signatories to the letter, which has been translated into English and includes an executive summary. The letter would be a useful resource for teachers and RE professionals, in particular those focused on key stage 4 and above, dealing with subjects of extremism in the classroom. Free pdf copies can be downloaded www.theoxfordfoundation.com.

'Belief in Dialogue': AULRE annual conference

The Association of University Lecturers in RE would like to give advanced notice that its annual conference for 2015 will focus on ‘Belief in Dialogue’. The conference will be held on 1-3 of September at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, with keynotes from Professor Trevor Cooling, Dr Farid Panjwani, Tania ap Sion, and REC Chair Dr Joyce Miller. For further details please e-mail bob.bowie@canterbury.ac.uk.

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. 

'Education & Security': TBFF training course

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation and McGill University are delighted to announce an intensive training course entitled ‘Education and Security: The Challenge of Religious Diversity’. The course will take place in Montreal, Canada from 15-20 June and applications are currently welcomed from security, policy, education and development professionals and researchers. The course consists of a series of workshops which will explore policy options for countering religious extremism through effective education that promotes open-mindedness, understanding and dialogue within often complex faith-based and secular contexts. For further information and to apply, visit the TBFF website

'RE: Reviving and Thriving': NATRE conference

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 them 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.

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!

Hockerill Educational Foundation / NATRE Prize opens

The 2015 Competition 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 colleagues 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 has taken 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: ‘why do Hindus cremate?’; the Hindu perspective on abortion and euthanasia; and ‘does the idea of reincarnation encourage suicide?’. 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

9/11 National Schools Competition open

SINCE 9/11 (formerly ‘The 9/11 London Project), has announced the launch of its third annual 9/11 National Schools Competition. The organisation works in education to help young people understand the events, causes and consequences of the 9/11 attacks, as well as their lasting legacy in today’s world. The competitions are open to 13-16 year olds, and entrants must submit a 3-5 minute film or 1200 word essay answering the question ‘How did 9/11 change the world?’. For more information on the competition, visit the competition webpage. Entries must be submitted by 27 March 2015. 
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