October 2014

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Putting RE on the map

The RE Council has been busy with NATRE and RE Today, putting RE on the map at the Party conferences. If you’re in Glasgow, pop in for breakfast on Monday 6 October – we’ll be running a Question Time-style fringe event about RE’s contribution to good community relations. Don’t forget to remind your MPs to visit our stand, read the RE manifesto, and sign our pledge card

Government change of heart on bursaries

The REC is delighted that the government has at last listened to reason on bursaries for people training to be secondary teachers of RE.  Following a long campaign in which many member organisations were actively involved, it has been announced that bursaries ranging from £4,000 - £9,000 will be available for trainees in 2015-16. This will begin to address the shortage of well qualified teachers of RE and is very welcome news. See the DfE website for further details. 

RE Council Patrons

The RE Council is delighted to announce the appointment of its first patrons. A celebration tea was held in London by REC Board members on Wednesday 17 September to welcome these distinguished people to the role of public supporters of religious education. The patrons are not RE professionals, but come from diverse backgrounds and walks of life – and one thing they have in common is their agreement on the vital part that high quality RE can play in the education of all young people. You can read more information about our Patrons on the RE Council website.

RE Quality Mark

A new report on RE in Church of England schools highlights the positive impact on RE of the RE Quality Mark programme, both as a means of developing and recognising effective subject leadership and as providing an audit tool to monitor effectiveness through its self-evaluation documents. The REQM is available for schools of all types; further details on all aspects of the programme are on its website at The REQM project will be holding its second conference for schools which have achieved the REQM on Saturday 7 February in Birmingham, thanks to generous support from the Hockerill Educational Foundation, at which Rebecca Nye will be speaking about her research into children’s spirituality. More information is available on the REQM site, or by e-mailing


Members of Parliament are focusing hard on Party Conferences and the upcoming election, and so the work of the APPG on RE will quieten down a little over the coming months, while the RE Council and its members will be taking forward the recommendations from the APPG's recent report on RE’s contribution to good community relations.

The Council was saddened to learn of the death of Jim Dobbin MP, who was a keen and active member of the APPG from its beginning, and had recently agreed to serve as a Vice Chair of the Group. 

RE PD Portal

The RE PD portal is being populated with courses for this year. Designed as 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

Young Ambassadors for RE

The Young Ambassadors are hard at work, preparing for this year’s conference in November. We’re pleased to announce that a very special guest will be working with YA team members at this year’s conference – stand-up comedian Sara Pascoe, one of the RE Council’s new patrons. Applications to the scheme are assessed on a rolling basis, and so if you know of any schools who 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

New on the RE Council website

The REC's new Sacred Spaces  website was launched on 1 September.  It includes a wide variety of material such as: RE trails linking a number of points related to religion or belief in a particular town or village; a series of 22 case studies from Foundation Stage to Sixth Form illustrating visits to places of religious or spiritual interest; and also links to useful websites, sources of further information and perspectives from providers. Visits are one of the most effective ways of bringing RE to life and this site aims to encourage schools to take up the many opportunities which exist.

Regional Strategy for RE CPD

Regional hubs are humming! Five hubs were piloted successfully in the summer term, five more are now preparing bids and several others are working independently. Representatives of the REC, NATRE and Culham St Gabriel’s have met to monitor the progress of the hubs and we are all very pleased and excited about the activity. It is still the shared intention to keep the door open to any proposed development from the grass roots, focused on the three aims of creating vibrant networks to raise standards, strengthening research-practice links, and developing leadership capacity. If you are thinking of developing a hub, and would like an initial conversation please contact either Mary Myatt on or Alan Brine on Meanwhile, new suggested impact measures have been added to the guidelines, which can be accessed here.

Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life

The Commission's aims are to consider the place and role of religion and belief in contemporary Britain, and the significance of emerging trends and identities; to examine how ideas of Britishness and national identity may be inclusive of a range of religions and beliefs, and my in turn influence people's self-understanding; to explore how shared understandings of the common good may contribute to greater levels of mutual trust and collective action, and to a more harmonious society and to make recommendations for public life and policy. It is currently carrying out a consultation on these issues which may be seen at .  The deadline for responses is 31 October 2014.

The Teach RE course

We are thrilled to report that interest in registering for the Teach RE course is picking up. This course is ideal for anyone thinking of training to teach RE, or any teachers with other specialisms who wish to develop their understanding of RE. Please note that the course fee has come down to £150. Find out more at and contact

The 3forRE scheme

If you are a primary, secondary or special school teacher of RE, thinking about taking a Master’s programme, check out this scheme. It supports you with 60% of your fees in selected universities.

E-mail a Believer

Have your questions answered by a team of experts from seven belief traditions. The team are all educationalists.

New: Online secondary seminar from RE Today Services

RE Today is holding an online seminar on RE, learning and the brain on Tuesday 14 October at 4pm. Led by Stephen Pett, the webinar offers an opportunity to catch up with some recent research into the way the brain works and its implications for teaching and learning in general, with reference to the RE classroom. Find out more

RE Today Re-styled

If you are an RE Today subscriber or a NATRE member, your September mailing would have brought you the newly-styled REtoday magazine. Along with its cleaner, fresher look, REtoday now offers you even more value; 96 pages worth of classroom ideas and news from the RE world, which also includes NATRE’s journal Professional REflection, formerly known as REsource. You too can get a copy of our REtoday magazine, curriculum books, as well as many new benefits, such as discounts on courses, online seminars, FREE downloadable resources, access to RE Advisers and much more by becoming a NATRE member.  View a copy of the REtoday magazine here. 

Strictly RE: the first ever NATRE national conference

NATRE is delighted to invite you to its first national conference, Strictly RE, which will take place on 31 January 2015 in London. This conference has been designed with you in mind, with practical, thought-provoking sessions and great networking opportunities to share ideas and invigorate your RE teaching. With 16 diverse seminars there is something for everyone, from ITTs to headteachers, subject leaders to RE advisers and everyone in between. Find out more on the NATRE website. 

NATRE launches its new website

NATRE is pleased to announce that it has refreshed and updated its website, to support the launch of the new NATRE membership. The website enables members to easily access over 500 resources through its new resource search facility, as well as keeping visitors up to date on news, courses, and events. It also has a dedicated members’ area which gives access to additional benefits such as contact with RE Advisers, discounts on Lifestyle Benefits, and much more. Visit the NATRE website.

New publications from FBFE

The National Council of Faiths and Beliefs in Further Education (fbfe) has recently published two new documents addressing aspects of spiritual, moral, social and cultural education (SMSC)
  1. Talking to Leaders: This new publication from fbfe and the 157 group of colleges provides an insight into the nature and  contribution of values, beliefs and spirituality to FE college leadership based on interviews with 11 college principals.
  2. The S Word: This new publication, the fourth in fbfe's series on smsc, provides guidance for college managers and lecturers on the contribution of the spirituality element of smsc to college excellence and the place of spirituality as part of smsc provision for students.
Both of these documents can be found on the fbfe web site 

The Hockerill/NATRE prize for innovation in RE Teaching: winners announced!

The Hockerill Foundation and NATRE are pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Competition, now in its fourth year.  Entries were once again of a very high standard and truly representative of the excellent teaching of RE in our schools. First prize in Primary Education was awarded to Ms Gill Tewkesbury at Pilton Bluecoat CE Academy in Barnstaple, and in Secondary Education went to Erica Melton and Helen Smith at Pate’s Grammar School in Cheltenham. More information about the prizes, including how to enter the next year’s competition, can be found on the Hockerill website

News from the Hindu Council UK

Hindu Council UK teaches RE in Hinduism at GCSE and Advanced levels at various venues in England.
This year, the GCSE results of our candidates were outstanding.  Nearly half the candidates obtained 100 percent marks in at least one of the GCSE Modules and about 95 percent of candidates achieved A* grade.  The average age of these candidates was 14 years. Hindu Council UK continues to produce academic excellence through the hard work of its teachers and students.

Institute of Jainology Ahimsa Day celebrations

The Institute celebrates Ahimsa Day annually. This year the event takes place on 15 October, at the House of Commons. The event's keynote speaker is the founder of 'VIVA' Ms Juliet Galiately. To read more about 'Ahimsa Day' read the article on JAINpedia.

New articles on JAINpedia

JAINpedia, the online encyclopedia on the Jain faith, continues to expand. The most recent article is about the monk Devarddhi-gaṇi. You will also find a link from the JAINpedia site to our educational site, Learn Jainism, which has activities, lesson plans and more. For further information, please contact us on
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