December 2015

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What's new at the REC?

November is always a busy month for the RE Council, as it holds its second regular general meeting, an opportunity for members to come together and discuss the work of the RE Council, and on this occasion, the review of the legal and wider policy framework for RE. This year the meeting was held at the Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Hounslow, and members had the chance to go on a tour of the Gurdwara with Co-Chair of the Gurdwara's trustees and REC Board member Karamjit Singh Thind, which was much appreciated.

Young Ambassadors for RE

The Young Ambassadors for RE are currently embarking upon an assignment, where they are investigating how their chosen religious or non-religious worldview prepares people for life in modern Britain. This will culminate in YAs presenting their work to their fellow ambassadors at a Young Ambassadors' conference, which the REC is hoping to run in the summer term. 
If you would like to make a donation towards the costs of running the conference, and particularly to allow us to reimburse Young Ambassadors and their teachers for their travel expenses to the conference, please contact Naomi at

All donations (large and small) will be very much appreciated!

RE Quality Mark Conference 2016

The third annual RE Quality Mark conference has been planned to meet the needs of colleagues at schools which have achieved the REQM award and will be held at Liverpool Hope University on 6th February 2016. The conference will consist of a number of talks and workshops, including a discussion of findings from classroom-based research which has been taking place at schools across the country over the course of this year, and a keynote speech from Dr. Debra Kidd on 'Curriculum with Conscience'.

My Sweet Lord: The Hare Krishna Movement Turns Fifty

This one day conference run by ISKCON will take place on 23rd April 2016 from 10.30-18.00 at Bath Spa University and will be an opportunity to mark the Hare Krishna movement's half century with a mix of academic papers; a panel discussion debating what happens when a New Religious Movement isn't so new anymore; and a mix of activities including classical dance and chanting of the Mahamantra.

Guests will include His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami, one of ISKCON's international leaders, and Keynote speaker Professor Kim Knott (University of Lancaster) who will speak on 'ISKCON@50: Achievements and Challenges in the British Context'.

The cost of attending is £15 or £10 for concessions. Book your ticket here. For enquiries, contact Catherine Robinson (

Strictly RE 2016

NATRE’s 2nd Annual National Conference, Strictly RE, is being held in Central London on Saturday 30 January 2016. Designed for everyone in the world of RE, this one-day conference will include inspiring speakers, a packed programme of seminars as well as an exhibition of resources and plenty of networking opportunities.
Book your place now at or email for more information.

Westhill Endowment Trust

Westhill’s assets now stand at approximately £10 million and the 2014/15 Report and Accounts have recently been filed at the Charity Commission, showing that we invested £303,292 in various RE projects in the last year.
A new strategic business plan for Westhill is being completed which has already seen the introduction of our first standard grant application form, a new grant classification system, a list of other grant funders to provide to all applicants, a new generic introductory leaflet about Westhill and a new website:
Feedback from REC members to Westhill would be welcome on the value of the annual Westhill Seminars. These have not been held in recent years but Westhill would like to know how best, given everyone’s limited resources, to facilitate dialogue between RE Academics and RE Practitioners.
Please contact Richard Dickson at

Barnabas in Schools: Paperless Christmas!

Christmas is nearly here!  Paperless Christmas is a series of free, downloadable, short video clips produced by Barnabas in Schools, giving a modern spin on the Nativity story, suitable for lesson starters relating to the birth of Jesus. Suitable for primary and some older pupils, the clips are supported by detailed lesson ideas and prompts for discussion. Please see the website for more information -

Institute of Jainology

Dr Harshad Sanghrajka is currently running a 10 session course at EKTA Centre on Jiva Vichaar (Contemplating on the soul).
This is being attended by about 55 people every Thursday evening.  Five sessions have been completed. For more information please contact


The Online Jain Encyclopedia has its many uses in the classroom. Have a look at this video on how to use the site. The latest article on the site is on Sacred Pavilions, where Julia Hegewald talks about the important elements in Jain temple architecture, often found in larger temples.
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British Humanist Association

On 25th November, the High Court gave a ruling on the case brought by three families against the Secretary of State for Education regarding the exclusion of non-religious worldviews from the GCSE RS exam criteria. The families were supported by the British Humanist Association and the joint comment from the RE Council and NATRE can be found on our website.

National RE Conference: RE - Am I Bothered?

The Diocese of St Albans, The RE Society of Bedfordshire and RE Today Services are running a national RE conference in collaboration with Center Parcs Woburn Forest on Saturday 18th June 2016. 
There will be numerous workshops, lunch and refreshments and an RE publishers fair, as attendees will be able to use the Center Parcs facilities until 10.30pm on the day. 
Tickets are £90, with £10 off for those who book by 15th January. For more information, and to download a booking form and programme, please visit the Diocese of St Albans' website.

The role of Hinduism in tackling contentious issues

Role and Relevance of Hinduism in tackling issues like gender orientation and terrrorism is part of the latest recording with questions from undergraduates of St Mary's University Twickenham.

RE for REal

On 29 November, the Faiths & Civil Society Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London released RE for REal, a major new report on RE in secondary schools which highlighted broad support for Religious Education from students, parents, and employers.

The students in the study stated that ‘learning about religion and belief is becoming more and more relevant’ and almost all of them stated that RE allowed to them to ‘engage positively with diversity’.

To read more about the report, and to see statements from REC CEO, Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, and Chair of NATRE, Daniel Hugill, visit the REC website.

House of Commons briefing paper on RE

What is taught in Religious Education in English schools? This briefing paper from the House of Commons sets out the rules in place, as well as issues surrounding the teaching of RE and its curriculum, and information on related topics such as collective worship and the right to withdraw a child from RE classes. Visit the House of Commons' website to download the full report.
Copyright © 2015 Religious Education Council, All rights reserved.
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