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Home arrow Newsletter arrow Newsletter Archive arrow Newsletter Archive arrow RE Council newsletter June 2009
RE Council newsletter June 2009 Print E-mail

Dear Reader,

Welcome to this issue of the REC newsletter.  If you have information you’d like included in the next one please email it to me by 28th July.  It should be in the format of a heading, two or three sentences giving the basics and a website or email address where readers can obtain fuller details.

Best wishes,

Sarah Smalley, Executive Support Officer, RE Council of England and Wales


RE and community cohesion: REsilience

Following the decision at the AGM that the REC should accept the invitation from the DCSF to submit a tender to develop and manage a 22 month contract on RE and community cohesion, one was prepared and submitted. The REC has been successful with its bid and intensive preparations are proceeding for its start on June 15th. Its brief will be to strengthen teacher confidence and competence in a fifth of secondary schools and colleges in understanding and challenging any religious ingredients in extremist violence and handling contentious issues in the classroom. It will have the double focus of subject knowledge and pedagogical practice.

The project will draw on relevant academic and professional expertise from across the member organisations of the REC and the wider education world. Joyce Miller will chair the Executive Development Group on behalf of the REC board, Brian Gates will chair the advisory group, Sarah Smalley will shift her REC executive support role to concentrate on this front  and the project manager will be Geoffrey Penzer of Penzer Allane Associates, chosen by the Board as our independent educational partner. Information about its development will be reported regularly via the website and e-letter.


Curriculum consultation: non statutory guidance on RE

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority is currently carrying out a public consultation on four aspects of curriculum change.  This includes the update of the non statutory guidance on RE, which as many readers will be aware, was a task the REC was commissioned to carry out as part of the joint DCSF-REC RE Action Plan.  Responses will be welcomed from both REC member bodies and from individuals.  The closing date for these is Friday 24th July.  The consultation document and a general overview of all four aspects can be found at www.qca.org.uk/curriculumconsultation


Engaging Places

In January this year English Heritage and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment jointly launched a new website.  It is all about using buildings and places within teaching and learning.  It includes a feature focussing on using sacred spaces as teaching and learning resources, linking in with Learning Outside the Classroom.

Council of Europe Ministerial statement on religion in education

This important statement is now officially on line at



European Federation of Teachers of RE

Advance notice: next year’s EFTRE Triennial European Conference will be held in the beautiful Belgian city of Bruges from August 25 – 28th  2010. The conference theme of Challenging RE  will offer a European perspective on issues that are important across the continent as well as here in the UK.  RE varies widely across Europe and an EFTRE conference is a change to meet and discuss RE on the wider European canvas. An opportunity not to be missed and with the conference limited to 140 places there is a need to book early.

More details on the conference can be found on the EFTRE website at www.eftre.net.

EFTRE would also be very pleased to hear about RE in different situations and countries.  They are looking for newsletter articles of between 200 and 500 words on:

- RE across Europe (news, views and ideas)

- Examples of practice RE in your classroom

- Reviews of good resources


Please contact them via their website, as above.



Conference: ‘A level above? Progression to Undergraduate Studies in Philosophy’

Registration for the above conference, to be held at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford, 2-3 July 2009, has now passed but if interested please contact the organisers.

This conference, organised by the Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies, will provide an opportunity for academics, school teachers, exam boards and policy-makers to consider ways to enhance students’ progression in philosophical education, with a particular focus on the transition from school or further education (including A Level, Highers, International Baccalaureate and Access courses) to undergraduate level study of Philosophy in the UK.

For more information, and to register, please visit:



RE.  Guidance for 14 – 19 year olds

A new publication from the Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Welsh Assembly Government, brings together a collection of valuable material on RE for this age group in Wales.  It includes programmes of study, curriculum models, case studies and a collection of BBC e-clips, ‘RE: Revitalising Education’, specially commissioned by DCELLS.  The latter is available via www.bbc.co.uk/wales/eclips and information on the guidance itself can be found at www.wales.gov.uk/educationandskills


Links to two Christian news digests

Ekklesia, ‘a think-tank that promotes transformative theological ideas in public life’, has a free weekly e-zine as well as a daily bulletin for which there is a modest charge.  Further details from


The Churches Together in England site carries stories of local, national and international ecumenical interest in the form of a monthly digest.  This can be accessed at:



Sunni Islam advisory hotline

An English language hotline for authoritative Islamic advice is now available from the Al-Azhar University in Cairo

Inter Faith Network for the UK

IFNUK has recently produced Circular 09/09 - an advisory note on the Equality Bill and some the ways it is likely to have an impact on religious matters. It can be.viewed on the IFNUK website at www.interfaith.org.uk 


Clear Vision Trust

The CVT wishes to draw the attention of teachers and RE subject leaders to the resources it currently has available, all produced by practising Buddhists, and providing materials for key stages 1 - 5. These include online resources for Buddhism and citizenship/community cohesion for KS3 & 4, covering topics such as identity and young British Buddhists, democracy and government in Bhutan, volunteering and the environment.

Information on the video based resources, including a number of special offers, can be found at www.clear-vision.org/Teachers

RE Trails

Can you help? Is there an RE trail in your area? Two AREIAC members, Paul Hopkins and Sharon Artley, have been commissioned by the REC to develop a national database of RE trails and a toolkit for teachers or others wishing to develop a trail.  For this purpose, a trail is seen as a visit to two or more places of interest in terms of religion and belief, usually within walking distance of one another.  They may also have a common theme (e.g. religion and belief: war and peace) or link to the area (e.g. religion in our neighbourhood).

Can you help? If you know of a trail in your area, or have one that is in preparation, please contact Paul and Sharon with as much detail as you have available.

Paul Hopkins on ;  Sharon Artley on


Conflict in the Middle East: issues for schools

The immediate conflict in Gaza which gave rise to the guidance below has subsided to some extent, but the issues around it are still very much present and are of concern to many pupils in schools.  The National Union of Teachers has offered some helpful guidance for teachers on approaches to dealing with questions that may arise both in and out of lessons.



Public examination data for RE and RS

Interested in national data on examination results for 2008?  You can find these at:

GCSEs - http://www.gcsere.org.uk/   and for AS/A2  level - http://www.jcq.org.uk/


Developments in RE from the Hindu Council, UK


The Hindu Council (UK) recognises the role of good Religious Education as a way of fostering

genuine cohesion in British society.  It promotes a broad and pluralistic vision of Hinduism through its website and through its interaction with various local, national and international organisations. It regularly presents a broader vision of spirituality through public talks and in the media.


For further details please see www.hinducounciluk.org


MA in Religious Education by Distance Learning

This course aims to develop the skills and understanding of those who already work or intend to work in fields connected with religious education in schools or in other branches of the education profession.  The approach is pluralistic and multi-religious and our students may be of any faith or none.  Our MA is unique, drawing on the vast expertise of the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit and delivered through distance learning methods. To discuss this further please contact  Dr Julia Ipgrave  

For more information please visit our website:



School chaplaincy 

The Bloxham Project, which has a long history of commitment to RE and to supporting the spiritual dimension of education, is embarking from September on a two-year research study into the nature, extent and effectiveness of school chaplaincy in secondary schools in England, with particular reference to schools in the Anglican tradition.  The project is based at the Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology (OxCEPT), the research arm of Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford.  The aim is to map and describe current practice, to identify best professional practice in school chaplaincy, and to suggest what might be the training and development needs of those - lay or ordained - aspiring to work in this area.

 Any contributions towards the study - in particular, offers by schools or individuals wanting to take part in the research, or having a particular perspective to offer - will be warmly welcomed by the research team.  Contact via .


Jewish inter faith involvement

Communities in Conversation: Jewish Involvement in Inter Faith Activities in the UK by Dr Keith Kahn-Harris, published by Board of Deputies of British Jews and supported by CLG.  This provides some useful source material for syllabuses/programmes of study which require the study of inter faith relations and issues.

Downloadable from: http://www.boardofdeputies.org.uk/file/CommunitiesInConversation.pdf


Global dimension

The Development Education Association has produced a series of subject leaflets, including one for RE: Exploring together: A global dimension to the secondary curriculum   Downloadable, along with 2009-10 Global Wallplanner, from www.globaldimension.org.uk

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