June 2014

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The beginning of May saw the preparations for the RE Council’s AGM draw to a close, as Member representatives gathered in Cardiff for the meeting. The day was a great opportunity for the RE Council to work more closely with its members and colleagues in Wales, as well as hear an address from Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills, who talked about the place for RE in the new curriculum. The AGM was also an opportunity for RE Council business, including the elections of a new Chair, Dr Joyce Miller, and Treasurer, Rosemary Rivett, who will take over from John Keast and Trevor Cooling, respectively, in September. During the meeting, John Keast, who has served as Chair of the RE Council since 2011, was presented with a book of tributes from members and colleagues, which you can view or add to online on the Padlet website


During the RE Council’s Annual General Meeting  Joyce Miller, who wrote the most recent APPG report on RE’s contribution to good community relations, led a discussion activity for member organisations. This activity focused on how the RE Council and its members could take forward the recommendations in the report.  Joyce is currently writing a longer, more reflective piece on RE and community relations, which will be published on the RE Council website. The APPG will also be holding a meeting in July which will look at how the situation regarding teacher training and professional development in RE have changed since the publication of its first report in March 2013, which examined the supply of and support for teachers of RE ('RE: the Truth Unmasked'). 

Young Ambassadors for RE

Over the last month, the ya4RE scheme has had further interest including a successful application from students at the Archbishop Sentamu Academy in Kingston upon Hull. Current Young Ambassadors from Redhill Academy have also had some very good media coverage in SecEd, which can be read on the SecEd website


The EAG for RE has now been established with the supporof the DfE and will work alongside similar sector led groups for other curriculum subjects.  Its first newsletter has just been published and gives full details of the group's remit and membership.  To sign up to receive future issues directly, please click here.

RE Professional Development Portal

The RE PD 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. We are currently populating the database with opportunities for the next academic year. If you would like to submit information about any PD events or provisions please use the form on the submissions page of the website. 

RE Council Website

New updates to the RE Council website include:
  • RE Report from the Chair: in this month’s blog post, John Keast, Chair of the RE Council, extends thanks to all of the staff, committees and members of the REC as he is due to step down in September. The blog also links to the Report from the Chair which was given at the RE Council’s AGM in May.
  • RE Council AGM: the summary notes of the RE Council’s AGM in May, which was held in Cardiff.
  • Wales’ Education Minister addresses the AGM: Huw Lewis, Minister for Education in Wales, addressed members of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales at its annual general meeting
  • RE Regional Strategy Pilot launched: A new strategy for RE professional development has been launched. It aims to make sure there are more robust arrangements for training and supporting teachers of RE and is based on Recommendation 4 of the REC's Review of Religious Education in England (2013).  

RE Today virtual seminars

Getting out of the classroom for CPD opportunities can be difficult; to support you RE Today Services are launching a range of termly virtual seminars, which you can take part online wherever you are. This term’s online training includes:
  • Using story in Primary RE, Monday 16th June: This online seminar will provide participants with an overview of how to use story in Primary RE, with practical ideas and a forum for discussion, plus downloadable training materials.
  • Revising your KS3 for next year, Tuesday 24th June: This online seminar is for anyone interested in the development of the 11-14 curriculum, taking on board the new RE Council Framework, plus fresh ways of shaping the RE curriculum, linking to other subjects and establishing the best of RE. 

3FF recruitment: Schools Coordinator & Schools Officer

Would you like the opportunity to work with one of the UK’s leading interfaith charities? The Schools Team at 3FF are recruiting for two exciting roles this summer:
The deadline for both roles is 10am, Monday 9th June. For more information and to apply for the opportunity to work as part of the dynamic and innovative education team at 3FF, see the 3FF website

Updated resources on Humanism for Schools

There are new and updated resources on Humanism for Schools, including guidance on SMSC for non-religious students, quizzes and case-studies, and printable posters for the classroom: see the Humanism for Schools website for further information.

British Humanist Association: free day-conference for RE teachers

The British Humanist Association, supported by Conway Hall Ethical Society, presents a free day-conference for Religious Education teachers to explore Humanism and the inclusion of non-religious perspectives in Religious Education. 10am - 4pm, Wednesday 16 July at Conway Hall, London Registration for teachers is free at the BHA website.

Animated videos on Humanism, narrated by Stephen Fry

The British Humanist Association has produced four short animated videos on Humanism narrated by Stephen Fry on the themes How do we know what is true? What should we think about death? What makes something right or wrong? and How can I be happy?. Watch them at

'The Young Atheist's Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life without God'

The British Humanist Association has sent a free copy of 'The Young Atheist’s Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life without God' to every secondary school in England and Wales. Funded entirely from donations by thousands of people from all around the country, the initiative is part of the BHA’s work to ensure that young people have access to resources that enable them to come to their own decisions about their values and beliefs. More information can be found on the BHA website

Hindu Council UK: GCSE resources on Hinduism

The Hindu Council UK have produced the following resources aimed at GCSE students studying Hinduism:

Face to Faith video conferences

Face to Faith, a project of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, have hosted two days of video conferences on the topic of human trafficking linked to faith and belief in May 2014. They hosted video conferences with special guests who are human trafficking activists or victims of trafficking themselves from different parts of the world. F2F’s human trafficking resources (compiled with Stop The Traffik) are free to registered Face to Faith schools. For more information, visit the TBFF website

'What Price Peace?': a new project from Barnabas in Schools

'What Price Peace?' is a new project from Barnabas in Schools, offering primary and middle schools a wide range of resources for exploring the First World War centenary in RE and other subjects. These include:

Train to be a Section 48 Inspector

Pikuach inspection service, the statutory equivalent of Ofsted for Jewish religious education, are recruiting and training Section 48 inspectors to review all aspects of teaching, curriculum and pupil welfare in its diverse range of schools across the country. Pikuach inspectors also work with other faith communities, most recently involving a visit to Guru Nanak Sikh Academy in May, which was a valuable opportunity for educators to learn from each other’s schools, lessons, and classroom practice. For more information and to apply, e-mail

Board of Deputies: 'Jewish Living Experience' exhibition

The South Wales Jewish Representative Council in association with the Board of Deputies of British Jews was delighted to present the 'Jewish Living Experience' Exhibition at The Senedd (Welsh Assembly) in Cardiff, sponsored by Mohammad Ashgar, Assembly Member for South Wales East. The exhibition ran from 29th April – 15th May and was open to everyone including local schools, cub, guide and scout groups, and voluntary associations as well as persons of all faiths and none. The exhibition has travelled around the UK for over 35 years, and its residence in Cardiff was the first showing of all-new exhibits. For more information about the exhibition, which teaches about the basics of the Jewish faith through engaging stands, role-play items and puzzles, visit the Board of Deputies of British Jews website

SCALA: Special offer to REC members

SCALA, the School Chaplains and Leaders Association, is offering a special membership discount to Member Organisations of the RE Council: Join now and receive membership until 31 August 2014 (4 terms for the price of 3). For more information visit the SCALA website

PGCE Religious Education places at Bishop Grosseteste University

Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln still has places on the 2014-15 PGCE secondary RE course. We have an excellent reputation for training, employment and positive student experience, and are a small community-based campus. If you know people who are considering teacher training but the course is full where they are, please point them in our direction. For further information contact Mark Plater, Tel: 01522 583630. Email:

3forRE support for professional development

Engaged in an interesting RE project and wanting to reflect further on it? Or just keen to develop your understanding of RE?  Why not consider completing an MA, with generous bursary support from Culham St Gabriel's Trust? Have a look on the CStG website to find out more, or contact Mark Plater to find out more about the Bishop Grosseteste University provision: Tel: 01522 583630; Email:

Lord Karan Bilimoria appointed as Chancellor of Birmingham University

The REC would like to offer its congratulations to Lord Karan Bilimoria, who has just been appointed Chancellor of Birmingham University. Lord Bilimoria is one of the UK's leading international entrepreneurs.  He is also a Crossbench Peer who is active in parliament across a wide range of matters including commerce, entrepreneurship, education, diplomacy, minorities' contributions and academia. He has also recently agreed to become a patron of the RE Council. We would like to congratulate him most warmly on this recognition of his work and look forward very much to his involvement with the RE Council.

Professor Stephen Parker awarded Chair in the History of Religions and Education

Belated but no less warm congratulations go to Professor Stephen Parker, who was awarded a Chair in the History of Religions and Education last year. Stephen has also recently received a Leverhulme Research Project Grant for a major study of changes in religious educational broadcasting - a subject of interest to many who work in RE.  See the University of Worcester website for further details. 
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