November 2014

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November is always an exciting time for the RE Council, as we prepare for our second General Meeting – a chance for our members to come together and collaborate to further the work of the RE Council. Having had great success in putting RE on the map at the party conferences, we are sure that there will be much to talk about! Another event to look forward to is the YA conference, where our Young Ambassadors will share the work that they’ve done throughout the year and plan new ways of promoting RE in their schools and beyond. 

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 which 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

RE PD Portal

The RE PD portal 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 Quality Mark

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 The REQM is available for schools of all types; further details on all aspects of the programme are on its website at

New on the RE Council website

New items on the RE Council website this month include:
  • Blog from the Chair - 'Here's to the future!': October's installment of the blog from REC Chair, Dr Joyce Miller. 
  • Bursaries are back for RE trainees: There was a widespread welcome amongst RE bodies for the announcement last week from the DfE that bursaries were to be restored for secondary teacher trainees.  The REC, along with many other organisations and individuals, has been campaigning for the reinstatnement of training bursaries to help to address the shortage of RE specialists in schools.
  • Secretary of State for Education visits RE stand at party conference: This year for the first time there was an RE presence at the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour Party conferences.  The RE stand was visited by ministers and MPs, prospective parliamentary candidates, councillors and activists from each of the parties.
  • Tony Blair calls for more teaching about faiths and beliefs: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has called for more teaching about religions and beliefs in schools across the world to help promote understanding and respect.

Application deadline: 'Bridging the Great Divide'

The e-learning course, ‘Bridging the Great Divide: the Jewish-Muslim Encounter’ is a 15-week e-learning course, which explores the history, culture and theology of Muslims and Jews, reflecting on similarities and differences as well as major challenges. Led by Dr Edward Kessler (Woolf Institute, Cambridge) and Professor Akbar Ahmed (American University in Washington), the course allows participants to study wherever and whenever they choose via the internet. The closing date for applications is 5 December 2014, and the course commences on 12 January 2015. Application forms and further details of the course, including costs, is available on the Woolf Institute website, or by e-mailing Emma Harris on

New courses from RE Today

Date: Tuesday 09 December at 4pm - 5.15pm
This webinar will give teachers six great classroom ideas for teaching Christmas to pupils aged 4-11, ready to use and fully demonstrated. The ideas will show how pupils across the primary age range can show progress in their learning from Christmas. Date: Tuesday 04 November at 4pm - 5.15pm
This popular one day course will give primary teachers of RE the confidence and understanding of RE, in order to lead, manage and motivate others to teach excellent RE. This popular one day course will give primary teachers of RE the confidence and understanding to lead, manage and motivate others to teach excellent RE. Led by Lat Blaylock, an RE Today Adviser, the course will run on 4 November 2014, at 4pm. 

'Strictly RE': the first ever NATRE National Conference

NATRE is delighted to invite you to its first  national conference, Strictly RE. 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 head teachers, subject leaders to RE advisers and everyone in between. The conference will take place on 31 January 2015, in the Grand Connaught Rooms, London. For more information about prices and presentations, visit the NATRE website

'Lessons from Narnia': ISRSA annual conference

The annual CPD conference of the ISRSA (Independent Schools Religious Studies Association) is taking place at Southwark Cathedral on Wednesday 19 November.  Professor Alister McGrath will be speaking on ‘Faith and the Imagination: what RS can learn from CS Lewis’. The conference costs £145 and includes a choice of seminars and workshops in the morning and afternoon sessions. More information and a course booking form are available here

'Making a Difference?: A Review of Religious Education in Church of England Schools'

The Church of England Archbishop’s Council, Education Division, in conjunction with the National Society, have published a review of RE in Church of England schools. The review, carried out by Alan Brine (former national lead at Ofsted for RE), surveyed the standard of teaching and learning of religious education in Church of England schools. A copy of the report is available to download on the Church of England website.

Hindu Council UK explores links between science and religion

Hindu Council UK continues to explore links between science and religion.  At an important event in the City of London we examined the narratives used in both science and religion to see how they produce a disjoint between these two fields.To view the presentation, visit the HCUK YouTube channel

'Christian Doctrine and the Impact Agenda'

What kind of public impact does the study of theology have?  A team led by Professor Mike Higton of Durham University has explored this question in a new report, ‘Christian Doctrine and the Impact Agenda’. Professor Higton’s team asked how academic research in Christian doctrine can make a difference beyond the university. They found it was not so much research as researchers that had the most impact, and that researchers' relationships mattered as much as their expertise. Read the report on the Durham University website.  

Teach:RE course

Culham St Gabriel’s are delighted to announce that the 2014-15 trainee handbook and information about the course is now online at The course now includes a new module on developing subject knowledge through fieldwork. There are also three set timescales for completing the course - one month, three months and a year. This year the fee has also been reduced to £150 per trainee. 


This scheme to support those undertaking a master’s degree with an RE focus still has a very small number of places available for 2014-15. Please see for more information.

Face to Faith is supporting UK Interfaith Week this year

Exploring the diversity of the United Kingdom by asking how we live with difference. Face to Faith is a global programme but this November we are offering you the chance to connect with other teachers and classes within the UK via team blogging and video conferences to explore how we are different, how we are similar and how we can live together.

To learn more about the Face to Faith programme and how to get involved please visit the TBFF website.
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