Working together to strengthen the provision of religious education

June 2018

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Commission on Religious Education

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Upcoming RE Council Meetings in 2018

Second Regular General Meeting:
Date: 7th November, 11am - 4pm
Location: Jewish Museum London, 129-131 Albert Street, London, NW1 7NB

'Religious Literacy' Facebook Quiz

Ever wondered how religiously literate you are? Click here to take our new Facebook quiz and find out!

Please feel free to share this link within your own forums / social media pages.

REC appoints Kishan Devani as an REC Ambassador

The Religious Education Council (REC) has appointed Kishan Devani FR​SA to undertake ambassadorial work on its behalf.  Kishan will be working with faith and belief communities, and with politicians, to increase their awareness of and support for the REC’s work.

Kishan is a politician, consultant, and former head of religious studies at a school in North London.  He is a Treasury Envoy for the Liberal Democrat Party and a member of their Racial Equality Working Group.  He had previously been a member of the Conservative Party, where he had been the youngest Deputy Chairman (membership and finance) for the Conservative Party in London.  He stood for Parliament in 2015 for the constituency of Leicester East and was a candidate for the Greater London Assembly in 2016.

Commission on RE discussed at Downing Street

The RE Council’s Chief Executive, Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, and the drafter of the Commission on Religious Education, Amira Tharani, went to 10 Downing Street on Monday 11 June to discuss the progress of the Commission on Religious Educationwith the Prime Minister’s Special Adviser on Faith and Communities and the Head of Education at Downing Street.  The discussion was positive and the work of the Commission so far was well received.

The Commission’s interim report, Religious Education for All, was released in September 2017.  This was followed by an extensive consultation where Commissioners took a substantial volume of submissions responding to the suggestions set out in the interim report.  The Commissioners are currently working on their final report which is due out on 12th September.

CEO Letter in The Times

The Times recently published a letter from the RE Council’s Chief Executive, Rudolf Eliott Lockhart. See the page online here.
Sir, Alex Robinson suggests that non-religious schools should abandon religious education (letter, June 11). This would leave children at those schools severely disadvantaged. Pupils should study RE not to become more (or less) religious but so they can understand and critically engage with religious and non-religious worldviews. This matters. Religions are key drivers of politics, history, identity, art and literature. Moreover they are often misunderstood, misrepresented, stereotyped and simplified in the media and wider society. Pupils deserve a subject where they can learn about their diversity and their contested nature. It’s a basic part of preparing for life in modern Britain for young people to learn about the different religions and beliefs of their future neighbours, friends, work colleagues and fellow citizens. 
Rudolf Eliott Lockhart
CEO, Religious Education Council of England and Wales

RE Quality Mark news

 The RE Quality Mark is pleased to announce several events for award holders and other partners. Details are on the website.  These events are generously supported by the Hockerill Education Foundation. REQM has also received new grant support from Sarum St Michael Education Charity to help schools with their application costs. Details of this can be found on the website with information about similar support from the Westhill Trust and the St Matthias Trust for the same purpose.
The RE Quality Mark continues to provide schools (all sectors and phases) to celebrate great RE.  A team of assessors around England, Wales and Northern Ireland is in place to visit schools for the award. There will be further training October 12th in Birmingham, this is expected to be the only assessor training in 2018-19.

For updates, please follow the REQM on Twitter @REQualityMark.

Commission on Religious Education

The final residential meeting of the Commission on Religious Education took place at the Royal Foundation of St Katharine, Limehouse in the East End of London on Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 June 2018.  There was a very good turn out indeed for this event and the debate was stimulating.  The National Entitlement, shown in the Interim Report Religious Education for All (September 2017) was examined along with the issues of Initial Teacher Education, the right of parental and teacher withdrawal and Continuing Profession Development.  The Commission will meet finally on 20 July and the final report will be published in September.

If you would like a copy of the Interim Report, please contact Ffion Cook at

REC member organisations are kindly requested to encourage their members and colleagues to keep up-to-date with the work of the Commission on Religious Education (CoRE) by subscribing to the REC newsletter (this can be done at the bottom of the REC homepage), or by checking the latest news on the Commission’s website , and following the Commission on Twitter @CommissionOnRE

Hindu Council UK Facebook Q&A

We do weekly Q&A on Hinduism via live transmission on FACEBOOK
Last broadcast included:
Why is the path of devotion so attractive in all religions? What is the role of Astrology in Hinduism?
Science does not offer proof about anything! - It just jumps from one hypothesis (a belief system) to another.
Is it all right for Hindu youngsters to live with a partner rather than get married?

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

SHAP Working Party Calendar

The 2018/19 Shap working party calendar in eCal or A2 Wall Chart options will be available from late July. This calendar used by schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, prisons, chaplaincies, places or worship and local authorities, and in several countries is recognised as the best festivals calendar on the marker. Covering 13 faiths notable dates and with space for your own additions this is an essential additional to your staffroom, office or place of worship. Prices and ordering information available at the shap website or following us on Twitter at @shapcalendar.

ISKCON Educational Services

We are working on a visual resource on Hindu cosmology and are looking for questions from teachers and students of RE regarding this subject matter.
Please email your questions to or alternatively click here

RE Today: NATRE Primary Survey

NATRE primary survey – still time to have your say!
There is still time to take part in NATRE’s (National Association of Teachers of RE) bi-annual primary survey. NATRE is looking to obtain information about the current state of RE in all types of schools for primary age children. The data from this survey is used to help NATRE plan on how to support primary teachers. It also gives vital evidence in our campaigning with the DfE - demonstrating what primary teachers and trainees need in order to ensure that the quality and provision of RE is good and fair.
If you are a primary teacher please complete this survey and encourage your colleagues and networks to do the same. As a thank you for completing the survey, you get £5 to spend with RE Today, plus if you choose to provide your email address you will be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win a Platinum NATRE membership*, winners will be announced at the start of the new school term in September.

Click here for further details. Survey closes: 31 July 2018

Get a FREE RE book when you join NATRE
Being a teacher of RE can be extremely challenging, trying develop creative classroom activities to enthuse pupils/students in every RE lesson.

NATRE would like to help by offering a FREE RE resource book from one of RE Today’s best-selling RE curriculum series, jam-packed with tried and tested ready-to-use RE lesson ideas.
Please share this special offer with any primary or secondary before the offer ends on 20th July. Click here for more details.

The Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum London is delighted to announce that thanks to a new partnership with The John Lyons Charity we are able to offer a new programme of learning for schools in the boroughs of Brent, Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster.
The programme extends over three years and all schools signing up will visit the museum two to three times over this period for a full day visit (two workshops) They will be offered the subsidised rate of £1 per student per workshop (£2 for full day).
The programme is open to all key stages in primary and secondary schools, providing strong curriculum links to REHistory, Citizenship Studies, SMSC and British Values. Offering students the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Judaism, Jewish life and history and contemporary relevance to the values of tolerance and diversity within our society. Workshops include:
  • Discovering Judaism: a series of hands-on, interactive, multi-sensory workshops designed to encourage pupils to learn about the vibrancy of Jewish religion and culture today.
  • Exploring History: a programme of object-based interactive workshops designed to engage students with the history of Jewish religion and culture in Britain. During the workshops students handle artefacts, archival documents and spend guided time in the museum's gallery exploring the rich and diverse history of British Jews.
  • Investigating the Holocaust: Our sensitive and thought-provoking workshops focus on a range of artefacts from the permanent and handling collections at the Jewish Museum. All sessions are led by our highly experienced team of Holocaust experts who are specially trained to deal with the delivery of this sensitive topic to children. The museum also provides the rare opportunity for students to meet and hear the testimony of Holocaust Survivors and refugees from Nazism.
  • Revealing Arts: These new workshops are a fun and creative introduction for students to get to know the objects in the museum whilst making links with Jewish religion, history and culture.
Schools will also receive extra support from the museum to help deliver religious education studies outside of the museum with teacher training and our digital portal of resources.
For more information on our programmes and how to book please contact Emily Barnes, Learning Officer

Complete our survey for the chance to win a £50 John Lewis Voucher, one of five up for grabs!
We care about having feedback from teachers, that's why visiting teachers evaluate every session taught at the Jewish Museum. Previous advice from teachers has helped us to create and adapt our learning programme, as well as its delivery.
Now we need your help evaluating our new Teachers' Portal. For the chance to win a £50 John Lewis voucher you just need to explore out Teachers' Portal online and fill out our 3 minute survey.

Complete the survey via the online feedback tab by 20th July 2018 in order to have a chance to win a voucher. We look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Click here to complete the survey. 

Institute of Jainology

The Institute’s has recently launched their new website on There is an entire page on Education and the various courses the Institute has on offer, in addition to a great showcase of the projects and activities the Institute was and is involved in. 
Recently, the IoJ’s Education team represented the Jain faith at the Vatican, and at the 33rd Anniversary Celebration of the London Peace Pagoda on 16th June, 2018, where Jain prayers were recited. Click here for detailed news on the IoJ’s Blog.

University of Birmingham: Life of the RE Teacher Project

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham is conducting research into the perspectives, views and personal lives of religious education teachers. Would you be able to spare up to two hours of your time to participate in an interview? For more details, please contact Jason Metcalfe (email:; telephone: 0121 414 4799).

University of Exeter: ‘RE-searchers Approach’ 

The University of Exeter invites Primary and Secondary RE teachers to participate in a trial of the innovative ‘RE-searchers Approach’, click here for more details. International colleagues would like to hear your feedback at a workshop in October. If interested, please contact

20:20 RE: Practice, Policy and Powerful Knowledge

Four RE professional associations are collaborating to produce an exciting conference on Religious Education and we invite proposals for seminars and workshops. The Association of RE Advisers, Inspectors and Consultants (AREIAC), the Association of University Lecturers in Religion and Education (AULRE), the National Association of SACREs (NASACRE) and the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE), along with Culham St Gabriel's Trust, are working together at a time of crucial change, development and opportunity for RE.

Date: Saturday 13 – Sunday 14 October 2018
Venue: De Vere Cranage Estate Hotel, Crewe
Cost: £175, with a concessionary rate for serving teachers presenting and delegates new to the national scene.

The aim of the conference will be to enhance the quality of religious education by drawing together professionals in RE – teachers at primary, secondary and special schools, academics, researchers, advisers, and providers of professional development. All delegates will be able to access the new subject knowledge, practical and research insights that can promote a more religiously literate society based on shared values. 

The conference organisers warmly invite proposals for a practical workshop, academic seminar, or talk, in one of the breakout sessions. We will consider all proposals and reserve the right to accept, reject or combine proposals where appropriate.

World Congress of Faiths: Interfaith Practice: Current Research and Future Action

A conference on 3 July 2018, 9.30am to 4.00pm at Allia Future Business Centre, Peterborough, PE2 8AN
The World Congress of Faiths’ student-led conference is open to all, and a great opportunity to hear about the latest in interfaith research,share ideas and information, and put your own questions to a panel of practitioners and other experts.
Register now by clicking here. Contact and information: or 01223 781781


Sea of Faith Annual Conference

The Sea of Faith Conference this year is entitled, "The Necessity of Hope".  Our guest speaker is Richard Norman, Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Kent and Vice-President of Humanists UK.  He is co-editor with Anthony Carroll of “Religion and Atheism: Beyond the Divide”, a book he describes as being all about Dialogue.  The SOF speaker is Dinah Livingstone whose talk is entitled “Hope for Humanity – A Theology of Liberation and the Beautiful City”.  Dinah is a poet, translator and editor of Sofia magazine.  Her most recent publication is “The Making of Humanity – Poetic Vision and Kindness”.   

The conference will be held from 24 to 25 July 2018 at Leicester University. Further details and booking forms can be found here.

Understanding Humanism Teachers Conference

Following the success of last year's RE teachers conference, we will be running another this year.
This day of FREE CPD will include a series of stimulating seminars and workshops for primary and secondary teachers, subject leaders, and headteachers, designed to enhance teachers’ subject knowledge of humanism (a non-religious worldview) and secularism, and support them with practical ideas for the classroom.
Tuesday 10 July 2018, 09.30 - 16.30
Conway Hall, London
Find out more and register your place here


Introducing humanism: non-religious approaches to life

Join Sandi Toksvig for an exploration and evaluation of the humanist approach to life. Ideal for teachers looking to improve their subject knowledge or sixth-form students interested in developing their own understanding of humanism or preparing for a degree in the humanities, the next run of this extremely popular course will take place over the summer holidays. With contributions from academics, humanist campaigners, celebrants, pastoral carers, and members of the public, it will widen your awareness of what it means to be a humanist today.

For more information, please click here.

Teaching about Christianity as a world faith in RE

Where in the world? is an active 2-hour CPD session from Barnabas in Schools for primary teaching staff, that explains how to creatively teach about Christianity as a world faith, using a broader, more diverse range of expressions to those normally experienced in the UK. The course’s resource book has recently been accredited for use with the National Society’s Understanding Christianity project. A similarly-themed Barnabas RE Day of drama, storytelling and discussion is also available for lessons in primary schools and academies.

‘Solarity’ Religion and Philosophy Club sessions

Solarity is an out-of-school-hours philosophy and religion club that aims to help children and young people think about and explore a variety of life’s questions in ways that go beyond the usual school curriculum. There are different sessions for 5-7, 7-11 and 11-16 year olds, all designed to encourage them to develop their own ideas, values and identities. The materials can be used by teachers and youth group leaders and may be of interest to parents/carers looking to supplement their children’s education at home.

They can be found here.

The Jubilee Centre: Teaching Christianity: What do Christians think the Bible says about contemporary issues?

​​The Jubilee Centre, one of the UK’s leading Christian think tanks is pleased to offer this set of 13 pamphlets that provide accessible introductions to biblical perspectives on a range of modern ‘hot topics’—from consumerism, to social media, to surveillance.

Concise, thought-provoking and attractively presented, these ​8-page pamphlets are great resources for teachers and students.

Tackling key topics, such as poverty and the family, each pamphlet is structured around three key questions: What’s the problem? What does the Bible say? And, where do we go from here?

Building on over 30 years’ worth of research, these robustly-researched, yet engagingly accessible pamphlets explore Christian ethics by unpacking how the Bible is relevant in our 21st century world.

Click here for further details.

Quakers in Britain: New Resources on Palestine and Israel

The best part- an eyewitness can visit your classroom.

This lesson resource for secondary scho​ol was developed with support from the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), which provides human rights observers in the West Bank. There are EAs around Britain ready to visit and share with students what they saw in places like Hebron, Nablus and East Jerusalem. We've developed this lesson content to help unpack these  the issues, available to download for free.

Click here for further details.

Westhill Endowment: Create Talk

Westhill has a collection of paintings and sculptures availabl​e for loan. The works encourage conversation and reflection o​n important themes such as loss, purpose and peace. Over the years they have been displayed in churches, schools, hospices, retreat centres and conferences - wherever they will change the mood and look of your usual space and create a space to pause and ponder. We don't usually charge for use of the exhibits - apart from insurance costs - and we can help with all the arrangements.

Interested? Click here for further details and pictures of the art works.

 Funding and Professional Development for RE teachers

Culham St Gabriel’s Trust exists to support and promote excellence in RE. Here are some ways we and our partners might help you and your colleagues:

RE Professional Development Portal

All the latest professional development opportunities in RE are tweeted and retweeted via the RE PD Portal Twitter account @RE_PDPortal.

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. If you are a PD provider and would like to receive the half-termly call for submissions, sign up to the mailing list here
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Religious Education Council 
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