October 2016

In this Issue

REC news

Surveys and Questionnaires

Courses, Resources and more

Conferences and Events

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At the end of September and beginning of October, the RE Council was busy representing RE with NATRE and RE Today at the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences. We were encouraged to hear Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, tell us that she was already aware of the Commission on Religious Education, which will be meeting for the first time on 3-4 November. The final report from the Commission, expected in mid-2018, will be designed to inform policy-makers, with its ultimate aim being to improve the quality and rigour of religious education and its capacity to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain. 

RE Council Second Regular General Meeting

A calling note for the Second Regular General Meeting (SRGM) of the REC has been sent to authorised representatives of member organisations. It will be held on Wednesday 2nd November 2016 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oshwal Ekta Centre in Kingsbury. The  REC is grateful to the Jain community for kindly agreeing to host this meeting.

Commission on Religious Education

The Commission on Religious Education will be meeting for the first time on 3-4 November, marking the beginning of a two-year process of gathering evidence, with a final report and recommendations expected in mid-2018. 

A website for the Commission is currently under construction, and will be launched in early November. It will contain the latest news on the Commission and have a facility for submitting evidence  in the form of documents, PDFs or images which individuals or organisations would like the Commission to consider. It will be essential for the Commission to be able to hear from all those who wish to contribute to the debate.

In the meantime the REC will be happy to accept submissions via email on behalf of the Commission, at

Political Party Conferences

For the third year running, the RE Council, NATRE and RE Today were representing RE on stands at the Labour and Conservative party conferences. Representatives from all three organisations, including teachers of RE, lobbied parliamentarians about the importance of good religious education in all types of school, and why it matters so much today in modern Britain.

The party conferences are a unique opportunity to meet and speak with a large number of parliamentarians about the key issues currently affecting religious education in schools.

This year, the focus was on three key issues:

  • The need for more trained and qualified teachers of religious education.
  • That all one-year primary Initial Teacher Education (ITE) students must receive a minimum of 12 hours of subject specific training in religious education, and have access to regular CPD training in the subject thereafter.
  • The Government should hold schools to account for the level of provision and standards of teaching of religious education, given that it is a statutory subject.
Colleagues were particularly pleased to meet and speak to Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening (pictured below), and were encouraged to hear that she was already aware of the Commission on Religious Education. 

Teacher Recruitment Campaign

The second year of the Beyond the Ordinary RE teacher recruitment campaign generated
some great results. Although we are waiting for the final data to be published for this year
we can deduce the following from the September statistics from UCAS.

  • Year-on-year, RE PGCE applications are up 14.1% versus September 2015, and successful applications are up 14.3%. This means 480 students are training to teach
  • RE this year compared to 420 last year.
  • RE teacher recruitment is closer to its target this year for the first time in a number of years.

We are delighted with these outcomes, and are keen to build on them for the year ahead.
Our work continues to recruit teachers for September 2017, although with very limited funds.

For five ways that you can help to support the teacher recruitment campaign, click here.

RE Quality Mark

The RE Quality Mark scheme continues to attract applications from schools in all sectors and phases. There are now well over 300 schools holding the award, and we are looking forward to new awards this term. Assessor training sessions will be announced shortly. The fourth annual conference will be held in February 2017 at Canterbury Christchurch University. Linda Rudge took over the management of the REQM in September.

For more information about the REQM, please visit the REQM website and follow the scheme on Twitter at @REQualityMark.

Young Ambassadors for RE

The REC is delighted to welcome Lynsey Wilkinson, RE teacher at Redhill Academy, as the new Young Ambassadors' Co-ordinator. She takes over from the brilliant Helen Harrison, who led the scheme for 18 months; the REC is extremely grateful for all the work that Helen put into the scheme, which in large part led to the success of the Young Ambassadors' conference earlier this year. 
This half term, schools will be asked to submit a mini-assignment answering the question What does it mean to be a Young Ambassador for RE? Their responses will be posted on the Young Ambassadors' section of the REC website next month. 

We would like to thank those organisations who have already kindly made a donation towards the costs of running the Young Ambassadors' conference in 2017. 

RE PD Portal

The RE PD portal is managed by the REC and is 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. You can now also follow the RE PD Portal on Twitter @RE_PDPortal, to keep up-to-date with new PD opportunities. If you are a PD provider and would like to receive the half-termly call for submissions, sign up to the mailing list here

RE teacher survey

The online survey on the purpose of RE seeks views from all RE teachers in primary, secondary and special schools. It only takes a few minutes to complete and can be accessed at: 

Please encourage your colleagues, including non-specialist RE teachers, to complete it as well. For further information, contact

AULRE questionnaire for Primary ITT providers

The Association for University Lecturers in Religion and Education (AULRE) is organising a questionnaire about Primary Initial Teacher Training in Religious Education. The information will be shared with the Commission on Religious Education to give an up-to-date picture of provision.  

If you are interested in joining a database of Primary ITT RE providers and completing the questionnaire, please contact Linda Whitworth at or Dr. Maria James at 

Interact with Judaism

Interact with Judaism is a new digital resource about Judaism. It is the result of a collaboration between Jewish Interactive and RE:ONLINE. Jewish Interactive have designed interactive apps and programs about Judaism that are used around the world. Now all the educator guides have been adapted and designed specifically so teachers and pupils in non-Jewish settings can access their products. Some of the digital versions have also been adapted for this project.
To see their interactive games, please visit the Jewish Interactive website.

Hindu Council UK: Science and Spirituality

The Hindu Council UK continues to produce resources suited to the needs of youngsters trying to reconcile a rational science-oriented worldview with religious worldviews.
Links between Science and Spirituality were explored at a recent lecture at Wellington College.

News from the Institute of Jainology

  • The Institute of Jainology will be celebrating Ahimsa Day at the House of Commons on 18th October 2016. The prestigious Ahimsa Award will be given to a chosen individual on the night. Look out for the announcement on our twitter page here. Watch a video of the last Ahimsa Award ceremony with HRH Prince Charles as the winner by clicking here.
  • On 22nd September, 2016 the Jain All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) was established in the House of Commons. The APPG will make Jainism visible to current parliamentarians and is an opportunity to raise awareness of the universal Jain values of non-violence, tolerance and compassion in all walks of public life, and in particular to human and animal rights, and the environment.
  • Learn more about Jainism from our online Jain encyclopaedia JAINPEDIA suitable for beginners and scholars.

Understanding Humanism

Understanding Humanism is a website packed full of teaching resources about Humanism, featuring lesson plans, presentations, classroom activities, videos, and information on CPD opportunities. Teachers can also book a free visit from a humanist school speaker. In September teachers can find new lesson plans, activities, and humanist perspectives on a wide variety of themes, topics, and debates. To keep up-to-date with all the latest resources, and other news relating to Humanism, teachers can follow Understanding Humanism on Twitter on @HumanismEdu.
Visit Understanding Humanism:
For more information, please email

RE Today courses

RE Today’s latest CPD opportunities are now up on the website. This terms courses cover an array of RE related topics suitable for teachers of all key stages.

Primary: Teaching 3 Religions, Creative Primary RE, Understanding Christianity and Help! I’m the RE Subject Leader
Secondary: GCSE RS renewed, Understanding Christianity

Visit the RE today website  to find out more and book your place.

Teach RE courses

There are now four courses available! These have been tailored for those entering Secondary ITT, those already teaching RE in both primary and secondary schools, those entering primary ITT/primary NQTs and those who want to brush up on subject knowledge to teach the new GCSE and A level courses. There is something for everyone.
For more information see

3forRE Scheme

Culham St Gabriel's Trust still has places available on this scheme which supports those who want to do an MA with an RE pathway. Details of partner universities and how to apply for up to 60% funding are available from Culham St Gabriel's website.

The Shap Calendar for World Religions 2016-2017

This renowned and unique calendar delineates dates from 14 world religions, as well as indications of people of faith. Available as either a printed wall-chart or as an electronic downloadable PDF, with significant reductions for multiple copies, this calendar is an invaluable resource for schools, universities, hospitals, the police service, prisons, law firms or anyone who needs to deal with multi faith Britain. 
The Shap Calendar for World Religions 2016-2017 is available via the Shap website or contact Shap at

Barnabas in Schools: Creating Character

Barnabas in Schools’ new theme for 2016-17 is Creating Character, and it’s all about developing strong personal values such as courage, wisdom, thankfulness, humility, endurance, service and compassion. This package consists of an Inset for primary schools, a creative arts RE day (choice of two themes, Friendship or Community), and free support material on the website.
For more information, go to:

Learn, Teach, Lead RE

Learn, Teach, Lead RE
is a cross-phase programme of professional development for teachers of the subject at all stages of their careers.  It is organised through local hub meetings, area conferences and training for teacher programme leaders (PLREs). Originating in the south-west peninsula of England there are now LTLRE programmes running in the west of England and two in the north of England. Another area in the south-west is being set up around Salisbury, Dorset and Wiltshire. Details of steering groups, funding arrangements, conferences and meetings are posted on the regional websites.

Funding boost to promote inter-religious and cultural dialogue

The National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) and the University of Bristol have successfully won two research bids for a joint project exploring better ways of promoting inter-religious and cultural dialogue in the classroom. Read the full story on the NATRE website.

Strictly RE Conference

Strictly RE, the National Association of Teachers of RE’s (NATRE) national conference returns to central London for another engaging and inspiring day. Dedicated to all RE professionals, there will be something for everyone: from ITTs to heads of RE, subject leaders to headteachers and everyone in between. Enjoy a day full of thought-provoking keynotes and practical seminars filled with classroom-ready ideas.
Price: £175
EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT of £25 for those who book before the 31 October 2016. 
Visit the NATRE website to book your place today.

ISRSA Conference 2016

The Independent Schools Religious Studies Association has a few places remaining for their Annual Conference 'Classrooms without Walls' to be held this year in Senate House, London on 21st November 9am - 3.30pm. AQA, OCR, PreU and Eduqas will all be giving seminars and there will be lots of exciting CPD opportunities. 
Sign up via our new website
Download the conference programme: ISRSA Conference 2016

Science and Religion in Education Conference 2016

The LASAR project (Learning about Science and Religion) will be holding a day-long conference at the University of Oxford on 28th October, exploring links between education, science and religion. For more information on the themes to be explored, please visit the Faraday Schools website.
To register to attend the conference, please click here.

Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies

Registration for the next Oxford Symposium for Religious Studies on 5-7 December is now open. The meeting will be held at The Old Library in the Oxford University Church of St Mary and hosted by Canon Brian Mountford MBE, Vicar of St Mary’s.  The registration deadline is 16 November. For more information visit the Oxford Symposium on Religious Studies website.

Since 9/11 National Education Conference

The SINCE 9/11 National Education Conference offers a unique opportunity for school leaders across the country to come together to discuss how to promote tolerance, and respect for all faith and religions. The conference will be held on Friday 27 January, with opportunities to access free classroom resources, network with other school leaders and hear from inspiring speakers on:
  • Whole school approaches to meeting the prevent duty and promoting fundamental British values
  • How to tackle controversial and socially sensitive topics in the classroom and beyond
  • The role of schools in bringing together communities.
To register for the conference, and access the education programme online, visit

Sign up for the conference by 31 October 2016 to save £50 with the early bird offer of £149 per delegate.

Actor Morgan Freeman visits Al Khoei Foundation

Morgan Freeman, American actor, executive producer and presenter of the documentary series The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, visited the Imam Khoei Centre on 11 October, the night before Ashura, a very significant date for Shia Muslims. The series, to be broadcast on National Geographic, explores the meaning of life, God, and many big questions in between in an effort to understand how religion has evolved and shaped society. This episode was looking at what the Shias believe, what Ashura was, the customs, rituals and the significance for Shias today. Ashura is the day when Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammed, his family and friends were martyred. 
The second series of The Story of God with Morgan Freeman is set to be released in 2017.

© 2016 
Religious Education Council 
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