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February 2014

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Introduction

The end of January is often thought of as a time when will power falters and New Year’s resolutions are forgotten. But not for the RE Council! We are as resolved as ever to carry on working towards safeguarding and strengthening the provisions for RE in England and Wales, and are busy now following up the recommendations of the RE Review, despite distractions; This is reflected in our activities over the past month and plans for the future. Particularly exciting news this month includes the continuation of the APPG on RE inquiry into RE’s contribution to good community relations, and the launch of our Young Ambassadors for RE scheme, which we hope will continue to engage young people as much as it has during the pilot phase.

APPG on RE

The second of three oral evidence sessions for the Inquiry into the contribution of RE to good community relations took place at the Palace of Westminster on 27th January 2014. The minutes of this event will be available on the website shortly, along with the minutes for the first session which took place on 10th December 2013.  Led by Dr Joyce Miller, the inquiry enables MPs to hear oral evidence from people with expertise in the field, supplemented by written evidence, and the outcome will be a short publication of good practice recommendations.  The third session will take place at Westminster on 24 February from 5 to 7 p.m.; to request an invitation or for further information please email appg@religiouseducationcouncil.org.uk.

The RE PD Portal

The RE Professional Development Portal is designed as a one stop shop for teachers and others involved in RE to find out about professional development opportunities of all kinds. Launched at the end of January, it contains a searchable database of PD opportunities, an authoritative online CPD handbook, links to other useful websites, as well as relevant documents and articles for teachers and CPD providers. If you are running a CPD course which is not already listed you can send in submissions for the database by e-mailing pdportal@religiouseducationcouncil.org.uk

Young Ambassadors for RE

After a very successful pilot year in 2013, the Young Ambassadors for RE scheme is now open for applications. Over the coming year we will also be seeking out ‘RE Champions’ from different regions to help coordinate the YA scheme, and hope to provide more local and regional speaking engagements for our teams. If you are interested in becoming part of the scheme, please download the application pack, available on the RE Council website

The RE Council website

January has seen several updates to the RE Council website:

RE Quality Mark

The RE Quality Mark’s recent activities include:
  • a conference for Senior Leaders in Education on 29th January 2014, which focused on using the REQM as a benchmark for RE professional development and school improvement, and improving RE through collaboration and outreach
  • the beginning of the REQM classroom-based research project
  • REQM assessor training for Northern Ireland on 17th January
  • an RE discussion on Twitter on 6th January, hosted by RE Today, which focused on the REQM
The first REQM conference for schools will be taking place on 8th February 2014. There is still funding available for small schools to apply for the scheme. 

Recruitment: RE Adviser for RE Today Services

RE Today is seeking a full-time specialist RE Adviser to complement the work of this well-respected RE Team. The closing date for applications is 10am on Friday 7th February 2014. For an application pack contact: RE Today Services, 1020 Bristol Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham, B29 6LB (telephone: 0121 472 4242 or email: diane@retoday.org.uk). The application pack can also be downloaded from the RE Today websites www.retoday.org.uk and www.natre.org.uk.

New NATRE membership offers teachers even more support to deliver excellent RE

The National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) is delighted to inform all REC members that it will be launching its new NATRE membership this April. NATRE has been working in collaboration with RE Today Services to develop a plan to offer even greater benefits to teachers and professionals of RE. The new membership will offer additional benefits which will allow access to RE advisers, discounts on their range of PD courses and publication, free monthly resources, and much more. As dedicated ambassadors of RE you can support teachers of RE and RE in schools by informing them of the exciting new NATRE membership package. The new membership will launch officially in April – so watch this space! Introductory information can be found on the new NATRE membership by visiting: www.natre.org.uk/news.php.

'Big RE': Enriching RE through an RE day or an RE week

‘Big RE’ is the latest publication from RE Today Services. Written by specialist RE advisers Lat Blaylock, Fiona Moss and Stephen Pett, it is a 35 page resource which provides all the practical support and guidance a primary school needs to run a big RE day or a big RE week, in which concentrated experience of good RE enables pupils to hit high standards. You can by this publication now for only £10 through shop.retoday.org.uk ISBN: 9781905893874.

Hindu Council UK: Resources for teaching about Hinduism

Hindu Council UK have produced a Teachers' resource package covering GCSE and Advanced level Hinduism. Any teacher interested in these should contact the director of education at Hindu Council UK by emailing  jay@hinduacademy.org.

Maimonides Foundation: Interfaith Explorer workshops

Interfaith Explorers is a free UNESCO-supported online educational learning resource designed to add value to RE in ways that help young people respect religious and cultural diversity. Following the success of the Interfaith Explorer Teachers Roadshow during the autumn term, the Maimonides Interfaith Foundation is planning a new series of training workshops and webinars over the coming months. The workshops and webinars are aimed at primary school teachers who want to leverage quality online resources to aid religious education and PSHE teaching in the classroom. You can find out about the workshops and webinars by e-mailing info@interfaithexplorers.com or visiting www.interfaithexplorers.com.  

Prime Minister launches Commission on the Holocaust

Last week the Prime Minister launched the Commission on the Holocaust. The Commission will investigate what measures should be taken to ensure Britain has a permanent and fitting memorial to the Holocaust and educational resources for future generations. A nationwide public call for evidence is running until the end of May this year. The commission will report its findings to the Prime Minister by the end of the year. To respond to the call for evidence click here

2014 Accord Inclusivity Award

This year's winners of the Accord Inclusivity Award are: 
  • Newbury Park Primary school in Ilford, has shown how RE can boost pupil’s knowledge and understanding of those of different beliefs through its innovative ‘Ambassadors of Faith and Belief’ scheme. 
  • Stockport Academy, a Christian faith school that chooses not to select pupils by faith; challenges homophobia; provides a varied programme of school assemblies and considers a wide range of beliefs in its Religious Education (RE) has been awarded first place in the Award’s secondary school category. 
For more information on the Award, visit the Accord Coalition website

Realising the Potential' Conference at UEA

On 24th April 2014 UEA is holding a conference for teachers of RE. Alan Brine HMI will give Ofsted’s headline messages from the Ofsted long report on RE: 'Realising the potential'. The day will include seminars and workshops responding to this report, on themes such as effective networking, practical support teachers and enquiry based learning. This one-day conference will be held at UEA and is aimed at all teachers involved in RE in Primary, special and Secondary settings in the East Anglian Region. For more information see the event flyer.
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