January 2017


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In many ways the REC’s work progressed in leaps and bounds in 2016. We established an independent Commission on Religious Education. We had more schools applying for the RE Quality Mark award than ever before. The Young Ambassadors for RE engaged directly with some of the REC’s member organisations as they worked on their assignment on their chosen worldview, and some teams participated in the Youth Debate at Westminster on the role of RE. We also increased our engagement with parliamentarians and political decision makers through attendance at the Labour and Conservative party conferences, and through one-to-one meetings with a number of MPs.

2017 also promises to be an exciting year. It will see the publication of an interim report on the progress of the Commission on RE, as well as a 'State of the Nation' report from the RE PR group, which will focus on challenging political decision makers and influencers on how schools in England are fulfilling their statutory duty to teach religious education. We are also looking forward to the upcoming RE Quality Mark Conference taking place in Canterbury in February, and there are plans for another Young Ambassadors’ event in the summer term.  All of this work is vital as we continue to work to ensure that every young person experiences a personally inspiring & academically rigorous education in religious and non-religious worldviews.

Commission on Religious Education: Call for Evidence

The Commission on Religious Education (CoRE) has launched a Call for Evidence. This call will form part of CoRE’s efforts to gather the evidence on which the Commissioners will base their recommendations.  CoRE is keen to hear from as wide a range of people and organisations as possible.  All responses to this call will be made available in full to all Commissioners.  When directed by CoRE, the secretariat of CoRE, provided by the REC, will provide an analysis of the responses.  Responses to this call will not be published without your permission.

In addition to the call for evidence, Commissioners are currently considering additional ways for people to submit views and evidence to CoRE, providing opportunities to contribute throughout the tenure of CoRE.  The later such evidence is submitted, the less opportunity Commissioners will have to consider it before the drafting of the interim report. There is no restriction on the type of evidence that can be submitted, though CoRE believes that a degree of structure in the evidence is helpful.
The survey can be found at:

Visit the new Commission on RE website to read the latest Commission newscontribute ideas and submit evidence to the Commission, and to sign up to receive news alerts.

RE Quality Mark

A steady stream of applications for the award indicates the healthy interest of schools in celebrating good RE. The pupils' voices in the REQM award give a validity and edge to the evidence that assessors are presented with during their visits. Some of the pupils' comments and work can be seen on the website, along with feedback from schools on their experience of the REQM process. The next conference for award-holding schools (funded by the Hockerill Foundation) takes place on 25 February in Canterbury. Details are on the REQM website. Three different dates have been offered for assessor training this year. The final two are on 7 March (Birmingham) and 18 May (London).

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

Young Ambassadors for RE

On Thursday 17 November, the Young Ambassadors for RE at Queen Katherine School in Kendal organised a lunchtime interfaith event in line with National Interfaith Week. It was an opportunity for students to carousel around different tables meeting members of different religious traditions from the South Lakes area.

The YAs from Venerable Bede CE Academy in Sunderland are currently working on a Prayer Spaces event. They helped to run the event at school in November will be presenting to members of Durham diocese and the public on 18 January.

This term the Young Ambassadors are looking at what makes RE successful in their schools. Some schools are also planning to visit each other and learn about their local areas. 

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 on 28th January 2017. 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
Visit the NATRE website to book your place today.

Teaching Islam Conference

Following a successful conference earlier this year, there will be another conference on teaching Islam for the new GCSE Religious Studies, with the first examinations in 2018. It will include presentations from exam boards, workshops on subject content, an exhibition of Islamic art work, lunch and a tour of the Imam Khoei Islamic Centre. For more information, please download the conference flyer.

Date: 2 February 2017, 9.30 - 15.45.
Venue: The Al Khoei Foundation, Chevening Road, London, NW6 6TN
Cost: £100 if booked by 16 December, £130 thereafter.

To register, contact: Ms Siddika Ghulamhussain at or phone 020 7372 4049

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

AREIAC and NASACRE Annual Conference

This year's joint AREIAC and NASACRE will be looking at the theme 'Religions are not Monoliths', exploring the contemporary liberal wings of Christianity and Islam. This conference aims to explore the ideas of Muslims and Christians that take what might be called a ‘liberal’ view. 

Date: Monday 6 March 2017, 10.00 – 15.45
Venue: Ibis Hotel (New Street), Arcadian Centre 21, Ladywell Walk, Birmingham, B5 4ST
Cost: AREIAC & NASACRE members: £75   Non-members: £90
Refreshments and lunch will be provided.
Click here to complete a booking form to reserve your place. 
Download the programme.

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 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

Hodder Education CPD courses

Hodder Education is offering subscribers to the REC newsletter a 15% discount for all of their teacher training day courses for those who book by 28 February 2017. Simply quote the discount code WF0004422 when making your booking to reduce your course fees by 15%.
Click here to view their course list.

Hindu Council UK

Recently Eton boys asked interesting questions on Hinduism including:
  • Is Hinduism Polytheist & Idolatrous?
  • Why mark the forehead? 
  • What is the significance of the holy cow?
  • Why is there terrorism in the name of religion?
Click on the video link to watch the discussions:

Board of Deputies of British Jews

Hundreds of Hertfordshire schoolchildren and members of the public learned about the Jewish way of life this month following the launch of the Jewish Living Experience (JLE) Exhibition at St Albans Cathedral. Around 500 members of the public also saw the exhibition, which  is aimed at explaining the Jewish faith, culture and practices. The exhibition also ran in Wrexham for two weeks during November, giving Welsh schoolchildren an insight into Judaism.

A piece on the Jewish Living Exhibition in St Albans also featured on the BBC's Three Counties Radio.

New Free Church resource

The Free Churches Group are delighted to announce that the Westhill Endowment have agreed to fund and support the development of an RE Online resource, composed of discrete units for Key Stage 2 and for GCSE, relating to Free Church history, belief and practice. The resource will be free at the point of use for RE teachers. The resource will be written, designed and produced by Kate Christopher from RE Today; resources will be available in summer 2017. For further information, please contact:

New Publication: Religion and Nationhood

More than thirty authoritative practitioners and scholars, including many representatives from REC member organisations, have contributed to this new publication Religion and Nationhood, edited by Professor Brian Gates, former REC Chair. Click here to download a summary of the book's contents.

This book illuminates the context for religion in public education nationally and globally. The authors' principal focus is on Religious Education in England, with its distinctive matrix of Christianity, plurality of beliefs and secularity. The complementary attention to RE provision in eight other countries and within Europe is revealing of each and a source for comparative comment on the ‘English approach’. Religion is understood universally as referring to the deepest meanings which we have generated to live with, both individually and collectively. The peculiarity of England with a constitutional monarchy and established church is identified as an enabling feature for understanding, inclusivity and openness rather than separation and mutual ignorance, but that RE is threatened by government inattention.

This book can be purchased from the University of Cumbria's Online Store for £70, including postage and packaging 
© 2016 
Religious Education Council 
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