November 2015

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What’s new at the REC?

Preparations are currently under way for the Second Regular General Meeting of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales which will be held at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara on 4th November. Our General Meetings are an opportunity to outline some of the work the Council has been undertaking and to hear from members on the key issues facing the Council.  The greatest strengths of the REC are the breadth of its membership and the depth of expertise within it: the General Meetings are therefore an essential opportunity to engage with both breadth and depth.  At the upcoming meeting, we are particularly looking forward to discussing with members plans for a review of “the legal and wider policy framework for RE at this time”, and the opportunities to shape RE for the better that this might present.

Young Ambassadors for RE

The REC is currently trying to raise money to fund a conference for the Young Ambassadors for RE, hopefully to take place at the end of the spring. Last year's conference was a huge success, with a talk from comedian and REC Patron Sara Pascoe on the topic of 'Religion and Humour'. At the next conference, we would like the Young Ambassadors to look at how RE can explore British values. We are also in the process of planning a project brief for Ambassadors to carry out research on a religion or belief that they know little about. 

If you would like to support the work of the Young Ambassadors for RE by making a donation towards the cost of running the conference, or would like to know more about their work, please contact Naomi at:

RE Quality Mark

The REQM project will be holding its third conference for schools which have achieved the REQM on Saturday 6 February in at Liverpool Hope University, thanks to generous support from the Hockerill Educational Foundation. Dr Debra Kidd will be speaking on 'Curriculum with Conscience'. The conference offers teachers the opportunity to learn from others, including those who have taken part in classroom based research about how RE is having an impact on wider school development. The REQM is available for schools of all types; further details on all aspects of the programme are on its website at

Teacher Recruitment: Beyond the Ordinary campaign

Please take every opportunity to share the Beyond the Ordinary video with prospective teachers and also to Sixth Formers who may be considering a degree course in religious studies, philosophy or theology. An update on the impact of the campaign will be given over the next month.

TeachRE Course

We are delighted to be able to offer bulk buy packages (10 or more places) to organisations such as Diocese, regional hubs, universities and SACREs. Please do get in touch with Kathryn Wright at if you would like to consider this for a group of teachers in your local area. This year we are planning the launch of two new modules, one on effective curriculum planning, and the other on primary subject leadership.

Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe celebrates Cyrus The Great Day

On 29th October 539 BCE, Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, entered the city of Babylon and proclaimed himself “King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, King of the four corners of the world.”  He came bearing the ‘Cyrus Cylinder’, the first Charter of Human Rights, which he placed under the walls of Babylon.  Today, the Cyrus Cylinder is exhibited in the British Museum.  To commemorate this event, the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe celebrated ‘Cyrus The Great Day’ last week with events at the House of Lords, and at the Zoroastrian Centre in Harrow. 

Hindu Council UK: Caste Issues in Hinduism

Jay Lakhani, Lead Trustee on Education at the Hindu Council UK, has appeared on the BBC discussing the issue of caste and Hinduism. The Hindu Council UK works hard to clarify the issue of caste in the scriptures of authority of Hinduism. To watch the debate of this important issue, see the video here.

Bahá'í Celebrations

On 13 and 14 November 2015, Bahá’ís all over the world will celebrate the twin Holy Days, the anniversary of the birth of the faith’s founder, Bahá’u’lláh, and his predecessor and founder of the Bábí religion, the Báb. This year marks the introduction of the Bádí calendar, and it will be the first time that Bahá’ís worldwide have marked these two anniversaries on consecutive days.

SMSC: A Christian Perspective from the Diocese of Norwich

The Diocese of Norwich has recently updated its Spiritual, moral, social, cultural development - a Christian perspective guidance for schools. It includes new case studies and links to the new Ofsted Framework (Sept 2015). You can download it as a PDF from the following website:

Nominations invited for the 2016 Accord Inclusivity Award

If you know of a school that makes special effort to promote an inclusive ethos and advance the growth of mutual understanding, especially on the grounds of religion and ethnicity, please commend to it the 2016 Inclusivity Award. Judges this year include Education Select Committee Chair, Neil Carmichael MP; author and Buckingham University Vice-Chancellor, Sir Anthony Seldon, and Sociology of Religion expert, Professor Linda Woodhead. Information on cash prizes for winning schools and other details, please visit

Joint AREIAC and NASACRE conference

Random bricks or building a structure? It has been said that the planning of RE in schools often resembles a series of random bricks. Too often these ‘bricks’ are put together with little sense of what the final structure might look like. There is no architect’s vision. How might new agreed syllabuses in the future address this issue? This is an opportunity to look at what the problems are, what advice is available, to discuss the value and effectiveness of that advice and to share ideas about what might be done to raise the quality of children’s experience of RE in the classroom.
Download the booking form and programme from the 'Current News' section of AREIAC's website.

Teaching Judaism Conference

The Board of Deputies of British Jews will be running a conference on Teaching Judaism for teachers of the new Religious Studies GCSE, teaching Judaism as the second religion. The conference will be held in London on 22nd February 2016, with Lord Winston of Hammersmith as keynote speaker, and presentations from chief examiners of the main exam boards. Teachers will also have access to relevant resources and teaching materials.
The fee is £150 for those who book before 1st December. 
For more information please contact

Jewish Living Experience

The Jewish Living Experience is a travelling exhibition that has been on the road for over 30 years, and includes information on core Jewish values, festivals, the synagogue, kashrut, life-cycle events and much more.  It is suitable for Key Stages 2 and 3 and was prepared by educationalists to ensure that the teaching of Judaism fully supports all agreed syllabuses. It can be adapted to suit the Key Stage of the visiting children, who will experience Judaism through beautifully illustrated display panels with clear text, authentic artefact tables, hands-on educational activities, and will be encouraged to handle artefacts, try typical food and experience some of the Jewish rituals. 
The Jewish Living Experience is generally held for 2-4 weeks in each area and several sessions are available to book during the day, with each session being able to accommodate approximately 30 pupils.  
For more information, please contact:

Maimonides Foundation: Interfaith Explorers website     

Visit the new look Interfaith Explorers website, which has a host of new webinar videos providing practical advice and guidance to help with the effective RE, PSHE and Citizenship education in schools, as well as Social, Moral, Cultural and Spiritual (SMCS) development.
Webinars include expert advice and insight on topical educational issues such as the Prevent Duty, Preventing Extremism, Fundamental British Values, Critical Thinking Skills, Religious Authority, Higher Order Learning, Secular World Views and Values Education.
Interfaith Explorers is a free UNESCO-supported online educational resource that helps pupils understand and respect religious and cultural diversity. Webinars can be viewed here: or for more information contact
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