November 2013

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October has been an exceptionally busy month and the RE Council reports on many of its activities, including the launch of the RE Review and the Young Ambassadors for RE conference. The RE community will continue to be a hive of activity throughout November, with dissemination events for the RE Review report across the country, and several of the REC member organisations preparing for an exciting and stimulating Inter Faith Week. 

RE Review

On 23rd October, the RE Council published the final report of the Review of RE in England. The revised curriculum framework was developed as part of an 18 month long independently funded subject review led by the REC, with the involvement of professional associations and a wide spectrum of faith and belief communities. It was endorsed by the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove. The report was launched in Westminster, under the auspices of the All Party Parliamentary Group for RE. A full account of the launch can be seen here, and a summary of the report is available on the RE Council website

RE Review report dissemination events

Throughout November, the RE Council is holding dissemination events around the country for the RE Review report. Attendees will receive a free copy of the printed report and will be able to hear short presentations on the report from teachers, advisers, SACRE members, academics and others active in the field of RE. 
The events will take place from 5.30-7.30pm on: 
  • 5th November - London, Institute of Education (Chair: John Keast OBE)
  • 6th November - York St John University (Chair: Professor Julian Stern)
  • 19th November - Oxford University Press (Chair: John Keast OBE)
  • 21st November - Liverpool Hope University (Chair: Joy Schmack)
  • 28th November - University of Bristol (Chair: Dr Janet Orchard). 
The events are free, but ticketed. To book a place, e-mail A flyer for the events can be seen here

APPG on RE launches second inquiry

The All Party Parliamentary Group on RE plans to carry out an inquiry into RE's contribution to good community relations. The inquiry will be led and managed by Dr Joyce Miller, who was Head of Diversity and Cohesion at Education Bradford until 2007. The inquiry will include oral evidence sessions in December, January, and February and will culminate in a statement of good practice recommendations. This work has been made possible by grants from Culham St Gabriel's and the Hockerill Educational Foundation. 

Young Ambassadors for RE

On Friday 11th October, five Young Ambassador for RE teams journeyed down to London to take part in a day conference, coordinated by Sarah Smalley and Helen Harrison of the RE Council, and supported by a grant from the Keswick Hall Trust. The day included presentations from Harriet Johnson, from PR company 3:nine, Helen Harrison, and Sophie Agrotis. Young Ambassadors were active in discussions about how RE can contribute to creating cohesive communities, and in how the YA scheme can be expanded to incorporate more schools next year. Overall, the day was a great success, which demonstrated the strong commitment that the RE Council and the Young Ambassadors have to promoting good quality religious education for every single pupil across the country. To read more about the conference, and some of the things that the Young Ambassadors had to say, visit the RE Council website.

RE Quality Mark

Keswick Hall Trust are funding an Eastern Region project to support secondary schools in gaining the RE Quality Mark. Schools which have already gained the award at gold or silver level will act as hubs and work with two other schools to support them through the process including undertaking some small scale research. To find out more about this project please contact Kathryn Wright or Mary Myatt.

Schools in Wales are now able to download the evidence form in Welsh from the REQM website. Assessors have been trained to assess Welsh schools.
The first national conference for RE Quality Mark schools will take place on 8 February 2014.

RE Council Website

Updates this month include:  The PD Portal is also currently being re-developed and will shortly be accessible through the RE Council website. 

Teaching Buddhism: have your say

Supported by the Network of Buddhist Organisations (NBO) a small focus groups of teachers and practitioners met informally in July 2013 to discuss the provision for teaching and learning in RE with specific reference to Buddhism. The surveys can be found on the RE Today website. If you teach Buddhism you are encouraged to complete the surveys by 4th November. 

"THE BIBLE" TV series and website

TV mini-series "THE BIBLE" will be broadcast on Channel 5 in December 2013. "THE BIBLE" has now launched a website:, where a number of resources are available, both online and to order. The website also contains information about the series itself, and activities related to it.  

Importance of Kartik Puprnima & Palitana Teerth at the V&A

Dr Harshad Sanghrajka will be conducting an inter-cultural tour at the V&A Museum at 1pm on Monday,18th November. If you would like to find out more about the Jain festival of Kartik Purnima, its importance and connection to the Palitana Teerth then you are encouraged to attend the tour. Contact or the V&A for more information.

3FF's Inter Faith Week Breakfast

Head teachers and Senior Leaders are invited to 3FF's Breakfast during National Inter Faith Week, on 20th November at the Houses of Parliament. This event, hosted by Stephen Lloyd MP (Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on RE), will be a very exciting opportunity to network, share ideas, and discover more about 3FF’s role in supporting the RE curriculum through its award-winning school workshops and school linking programme.  Guest speakers will include Bernadette Hunter (President of the NAHT), Mark Chater (Culham St Gabriel’s) and other leading figures in the field. 3FF will also be running a programme of school workshops to mark National Inter Faith Week.  For further information about any of these events, and to book places, visit 3FF's website or contact Robert Dixon, Schools Organiser on

Funded research scholarship: RE/Philosophy of Education

The School of Education at Oxford Brookes Universty is looking for strong candidates to apply for one three-year, full-time PhD studentship. The studentship is intended for a candidate who will pursue a PhD project that falls broadly within one of the School's key thematic research areas:
  • Learning, Identity and Culture
  • Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
  • Childhood, Families and Community
  • Educational Purposes, Ethics and Beliefs
  • Partnership, Policy and Leadership
The closing date for applications is 17.00 on Monday 25th November 2013, to start in January 2014. For further details, please see the information sheet.

"Run a Successful RE Department"

On 26th November 2013, Ashford Teaching Alliance are running a course entitled "Run a Successful RE Department" at Highworth Grammar School. The course is designed for new, current and aspiring secondary school Heads of RE and RE Subject leaders. For more information, and to book a place on the course, visit The course costs £95 per person. 

"Shaping the Future of Primary RE"

There will be a FREE one day conference on Saturday 30th November 2013 at Middlesex University, London for Initial Teacher Education tutors in Primary Religious Education. The programme includes keynote speakers and workshops and will focus on preparing student teachers to teach RE in the light of the RE Subject Review and the proposed changes to the primary curriculum. For further information and to reserve a place, please contact Linda Whitworth or Rosemary Walters.

"Bridging the Great Divide: the Jewish-Muslim Encounter"

Places are still available for the e-learning course, "Bridging the Great Divide: the Jewish-Muslim Encounter". The course will commence week beginning 13 January 2014. This 15-week e-learning course is an opportunity for participants to explore the history, culture and theology of Muslims and Jews, reflecting both on similarities and differences as well as the major challenges. Assisted by leading scholars in the US and Europe with a wealth of experience in this field, the course will also offer strategies for building bridges between the communities. For more details of the course, together with the application form, visit the Courses webpages.


Institute of Jainology: Ahimsa Day celebrations

The Institute's Annual Ahimsa Day Celebrations were held at the House of Commons on 9th October 2013. The Ahimsa Award has been won by the likes of the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela. This year the award was won by Dr Melanie Joy, Author of "Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows"; and Founder of the Carnism Awareness & Action Network

2014 Accord Inclusivity Award

Do you know of a school that makes a special effort to be inclusive, promote mutual understanding,  build links within and between communities, and advance an ethos of inclusion (with particular regard on the grounds of religion and belief)? If so, then nominate it for the 2014 Accord Inclusivity Award, or ask someone at the schools to do so.  The Award - now in its fourth year - is open to all schools. Winners will be announced in the local and national press.

Ofsted report: "Religious Education: Realising the Potential"

The 2013 Ofsted RE report, "Religious Education: Realising the Potential"  was published in early October and can be accessed, along with a Summary version.  The report was well received and was seen to be a catalyst for action. As a result of good communication between different arms of the RE professional community, there has been a good alignment with the APPG report; the REC RE Review, the NATRE surveys and the focus of the recent Wokefield Conference on Leadership in RE. As a result there are clear grounds for optimism about the future.

"Why Narnia?": a new RE project from Barnabas in Schools

How can fantasy help us ask serious questions about the 'real' world and our place in it? The "Narnia" stories of CS Lewis such as "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’"can be used to explore Christian responses to key questions in RE such as: Who is in charge of the world? Does God exist at all? How do we know what is right and wrong?
To develop this, Barnabas in Schools have created "Why Narnia?" comprising a resource book for teachers, a complete creative arts RE day of pupil workshops, an INSET package for primary teachers – and free support materials online. For more details see the Barnabas in Schools website

"Introducing Islamic Critical Realism"

Curriculum for Cohesion and Cambridge Muslim College have been collaborating with the University of Cambridge’s PGCE in Religious Education, to run sessions which help RE teacher-trainees to explore both the truth-claims of religion in the classroom and to make full use of the multi-faith contexts that British children inhabit. An introduction to this approach by Matthew Wilkinson, "Introducing Islamic Critical Realism" has been published by the Journal of Critical Realism.  For further details of the work of Curriculum for Cohesion visit:

Teach RE Course

This newly updated distance learning course from Culham St Gabriel's provides opportunities for those already teaching RE or planning to teach RE in all schools. 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

Future of RE report

In response to the present situation in RE, the University of Worcester hosted a day conference on the future of the subject in June 2013. With the intention of drawing together delegates representing a range of organisations and views to reflect upon input provided by a spread of expert opinion, the day conference provided a forum to debate many of the current issues challenging the subject's future. The report of the conference, written by Prof. Stephen Parker, has now been published by Worcester Research and Publications, entitled "The Future of Religious Education: Prospects and problems for Religious Education (revisited)."

"Does RE Work? A Multi-dimensional investigation"

The new book, "Does RE Work?" was published by Bloomsbury in October, by James C Conroy, David Lundie, Robert A Davis, Vivienne Baumfield, L Philip Barnes, Tony Gallagher, Kevin Lowden, Nicole Bourque and Karen Wenell. The volume draws upon a range of methodologies to understand more fully the practices, policies and resources available in and to religious education in British schools.

Copyright © 2013 Religious Education Council, All rights reserved.
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