Working together to strengthen the provision of religious education

August 2018

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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

Parliamentary Luncheon July 2018

On 4th July 2018 the REC organised a Parliamentary luncheon to discuss the barriers and challenges to RE teacher recruitment with MPs and policy experts. The lunch was attended by Liz Twist MP, Simon Hoare MP, Stephen Timms MP, a researcher from the office of Nick Gibb, and representatives from the National Education Union, the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers, and the Chartered College of Teaching, as well as by Rudolf Eliott Lockhart (REC Chief Executive), Deborah Weston (Chair of the RE Policy Unit), and Kathryn Wright, (Project Manager of the Beyond the Ordinary teacher recruitment project).
The recruitment of appropriately qualified RE teachers is a critical issue.  The recruitment rate for RE teachers is at 49% of the official target for this year. At the same time last year, the recruitment rate was 60% of target.  There are general challenges faced by all subjects and phases of recruitment, but those specific to RE include: a maximum bursary for RE of only £9,000 while bursaries for Geography and Classics have risen to a maximum of £26,000, impacting the perception of the profession and its value; RE teachers with relevant post A-level qualifications; far fewer report vacancies than there are in reality; exclusion of the subject from the EBacc; lack of a pool of recruits and support for non-specialists; lack of accountability within schools; and a misunderstanding of the nature of the subject, with many still expecting RE to be religious instruction, rather than education. The lunch was a great way to raise these issues and to discuss ways potential solutions to them.

Second RE Youth Debate in Westminster

On Monday 9th July 2018, 80 Year 10-12 students from schools across England came to Parliament to debate some of the key issues around the teaching of Religious Education.Four of the schools involved are members of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) Young Ambassador scheme.
Liz Twist MP and historian of religion, Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou joined the talented students for the debate, which was hosted by William Wragg MP and organised by the REC and the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) and funded by Culham St Gabriel’s Trust. Numerous MPs, Parliamentary researchers, policy advisers and other interested parties witnessed the debate, which showcased the students’ engagement with the subject through their range and depth of thinking around these complex questions.

The questions discussed were:
1. In an increasingly secular society there is no need for RE.
2. If religious literacy is fundamental to challenging extremism, the Government should repeal the right to withdraw.
3. You learn more by studying other people’s worldviews than you do by studying your own.

'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.

RE Quality Mark news

The RE Quality Mark is managed by the RE Council. We are delighted that REQM will be represented in workshops by Gold Award holders at the 2020 RE conference in Crewe and at Strictly RE.  There will be one scheduled training session for assessors on October 18th in Birmingham.  The full review of the Quality Mark is now underway, generously funded by Culham St Gabriel's Trust.  Schools, assessors and RE subject associations are being consulted about proposed developments. There are still some grants available to support schools in their applications, please click here t access our online application form. 
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 one training session 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 last meeting of Commission on Religious Education took place on Friday 20 July in the Jerusalem Chamber, Westminster Abbey.  This room was the setting for the meetings of the translators of the King James Version of the Bible, the writing of the Presbyterian Westminster Confession and other significant event in British religious life. The meeting was chaired by the Dean of Westminster.  Commissioners considered a draft of the Final Report and discussed a range of edits to it. 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: Hinduism GCSE

We promote excellence in Religious Education on Hinduism.  Almost half our candidates achieve 100 percent marks in one or other module of GCSE in Hinduism.

We celebrate their achievements with an award ceremony. The head of Philosophy from Eton college-  Mr Wilcockson and Co-chair of Hindu Council Uk - Mr Minhas gave out the awards.

Click here to view the video on YouTube, with classical dance performances.

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

The Jewish Museum Teacher Engagement Programme

Hanukah Private Event 2018
Please join us for a private event on 9th December 2018 with the Jewish community to celebrate the festival of Hanukah and commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport. There will be invited guests, speakers, Yiddish songs and traditional food.  
Arrival from 3.30pm
Candle lighting 4pm
Event closes 5pm  
This is part of our new Teacher Engagement Programme to experience contemporary Jewish life. For this event we are able to offer 15 free tickets for teachers on a first come first serve basis. To book please email from your school email.
Holocaust Memorial Day 2019
Please join us for our annual Holocaust Memorial Day event at the Jewish Museum on Thursday 24th January 2019 6.30pm – 8pm. There will be the opportunity to hear from a survivor followed by a Q & A session. For this event we are able to offer 20 free tickets for teachers on a first come first serve basis. To book please email from your school email.

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.

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.

World Congress of Faiths 

Calling all students who believe interfaith matters!
Take up the challenge and you could win £300 and have your work published in the international journal Interreligious Insight
Enter the World Congress of Faiths Essay Award, open to all undergraduates and postgraduates, by writing a maximum of 3,000 words on the question ‘Can interfaith dialogue achieve any lasting value for society?’
Click here for full details of how to enter.  
Contact and information: or 01223 781781.

Student Led Conference
The World Congress of Faiths (WCF) held its first ever student-led conference, 'Interfaith practice: current research and future action' on 3 July in Peterborough.  Delegates were able to hear about the latest interfaith research from five doctoral students based at various UK universities.  Their work covered the areas of education (from primary to higher), interreligious marriage, and family models of faith diversity.  These fascinating and cutting edge presentations will appear as articles in the next issue of the WCF Journal 'Interreligious Insight'. The event also offered opportunities to participate in a panel discussion and workshops exploring the main topics of the talks, and the majority of those attending rated the experience of the day as 'excellent'. 

For more information about future WCF events, publications and membership contact Jenny Kartupelis on 01223 781781 or

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.

The Faith & Belief Forum Teacher Training

F&BF (The Faith & Belief Forum) would like to offer teacher training to schools within the Greater London area; The training focuses on how teachers can develop student’s ‘interfaith’ communication skills; Helping them learn from and empathise with other viewpoints, as well as being able to articulate their own lived experience of faith and belief. Teachers will receive guidance on how to facilitate this in class, as well as age appropriate resources to use with their students. The training session can either be 30 minutes or 1 hour long and take place during an inset day, afterschool/twilight or an NQT training session. This training is particularly relevant to PHSCE and RE teachers, but is suitable for all teaching staff.
If you would like to learn more about our teacher training offer, please email You can read more about our other schools programmes by visiting our website.

 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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