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Home arrow Newsletter arrow Newsletter Archive arrow Newsletter Archive arrow RE Council Newsletter October 2009
RE Council Newsletter October 2009 Print E-mail

REC newsletter October 2009

The Joseph Interfaith Foundation
The Foundation works in education and youth work contexts to promote dialogue between young people from Muslim and Jewish backgrounds and aims to promote a clearer understanding of both faiths amongst the general public and also in education contexts. Following the Foundation's very successful academic conference in 08, it will be holding this year's conference in November 09. 

Further details on the website at www.josephinterfaithfoundation.org 

James Hemming essay competition
The British Humanist Association (BHA) has congratulated the winners of the first annual James Hemming essay competition, which is sponsored by the BHA, New Humanist magazine and the South Place Ethical Society. Andrew Copson, BHA Director of Education, commented, ‘What was clear from so many of the essays, not least the winning entries, was the ability of young people to think critically about life’s ultimate questions ... We see this new competition as not only testament to the great contribution that James Hemming made to education throughout his life, but as part of our role to encourage free and critical thinking by all people in society.’

The winning essays from the 2008 competition are now on the website (http://www.www.hemmingprize.org.uk ); where there is also information about the 2009 competition. The BHA provides resources for schools on its dedicated education websitewww.humanismforschools.org.uk  

Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE)
CABE has two current announcements which may be of interest to teachers of RE. First there is a competition open to teachers to win a framed signed original architectural drawing for their school. CABE is inviting all teachers to submit a lesson idea that uses a building or place. The most inspiring idea will win a framed signed drawing from a renowned architectural practice for their school. 
Visit www.engagingplaces.org.uk/news/art71140  to enter by 11th December 2009. 

CABE is also offering six grants of up to £1,500 to schools in England to offer exemplary learning experiences inspired by the built environment. The education grants are available through a competitive application process and fund projects that take place between December 2009 and 31 March 2010. The closing date for applications is 9th November.
For full details on the application process, categories and previously funded projects please visit: www.cabe.org.uk/educationgrants  

Code of conduct for RE teachers 
This draft code aims to complement the GTCE’s general code for teachers. It is completely voluntary and has been developed by an REC working group to help teachers, headteachers, parents and faith and belief communities see more clearly where there are distinctions between personal belief and professional responsibilities and how these can be dealt with in practice. 

The draft code and address for responding to the consultation (by 24th October) are on the REC website atwww.religiouseducationcouncil.org  

Resources from Shap
The Shap Working Party on Education in Religions has developed a series of helpful and user-friendly resources (free to download) for schools e.g. for KS1 on ‘The food we eat and why’, and for KS2 on ‘Living ethically’. 

See the website for full details (http://www.shap.org ) 

RE and Community Cohesion Project
The RE and Community Cohesion project which ran from January to June 2009, involved about a dozen Greater London RE teachers who are already developing the role of RE in community cohesion. Each teacher was asked to develop examples of best practice from within their teaching which could then be used as exemplars for national dissemination via a website and for a local exhibition within the City towards the end of the summer term. 

For full details of the case studies, each illustrating work in a very different school context. please see http://www.community-cohesion.org.uk 
Hindu Academy
The Hindu Academy continues to offer Hindu input towards postgraduate courses in RE at various colleges and universities. This month it will be holding sessions with students at: University of East London; Canterbury Christ Church; St Mark and St John Plymouth ; University of Exeter and of Sheffield-Hallam and Muslim College, Ealing. These sessions are open and interactive, and encourage a critical appraisal of the religious enterprise. 

For further details see http://www.hinduacademy.org 

New RE guidelines for C of E secondary schools
Guidelines for RE in Church of England secondary schools have been written by Heads of RE and Diocesan Advisers. These seek to show the distinctive nature of RE in Church of England secondary schools in the light of the new secondary curriculum. They include classroom examples of discrete RE lessons on Christianity in KS3 as well as cross-curricular RE planning using the cross-curricular dimensions. 
For further details see http://www.natsoc.org.uk/reresources/ 

A working party is currently working on guidance for Primary Church of England schools in light of the Rose report. For further details contact Jane Brooke, RE Project Development Officer for the National Society, on 07540 722670.

Independent Schools Religious Studies Association
The annual Religious Studies conference of the Independent Schools Religious Studies Association took place in Cambridge in September, with Alister McGrath as the headline speaker. This led on to a range of seminars, one of which Professor McGrath conducted in discussion of his earlier talk, that explored through the day everything from podcasts to early years' learning, a multi-faith question panel to the Science and Religion in Schools project. Nearly 150 teachers from across the pupil age range attended the day.
Further information at www.isrsa.org.uk  

Examination Results for 2009.
The provisional examination results for 2009 record the first drop in GCSE entries for RE for 10 years, though AS/A2 numbers continue to rise. The full data on exam entries, grades and comparisons with past years can be found on the websitewww.gcsere.org.uk 

European Federation of Teachers of RE (EFTRE)
Are you interested in wider European issues in RE? The EFTRE website (www.eftre.net/publications.html) has details of a wide range of publications illustrating ways RE is approached in a variety European contexts, highlighting similarities with and differences from the UK experience.

New schools award for religious inclusion and equality
A prestigious new prize is being offered that recognises the achievements of primary and secondary schools which celebrate diversity of religious and non-religious beliefs. Created by Accord, a coalition of groups united in a desire to reform faith schools, the awards are to acknowledge work in schools and the wider community that goes beyond legal requirements on inclusion and equality. The awards are open to all state-funded schools, including faith schools, and will be judged by a highly respected and experienced panel of experts. The judges will be looking for schools that have an ethos that celebrates inclusion and that pride themselves on building links within and between communities.
Details about how to apply for the Accord awards can be found at: http://www.accordcoalition.org.uk/index.php/accord-awards-how-to-apply/  
The deadline for entries is 2nd November.

The Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies (University of Leeds)
The Centre is organising an interdisciplinary workshop to explore issues around teaching spirituality in higher education in the UK. The workshop is aimed at academics, chaplaincy workers, equality and diversity officers, staff developers and students. It will be provided at no charge to those involved in teaching or studying spirituality in UK higher education. Lunch and refreshments are included. Places will be allocated on a firsts come first served basis. The deadline for proposals is 16th October 2009. 

For further details please contact Dr. Rebecca O'Loughlin at   

Reonline/TeachRE Booster Course
In collaboration with the Culham Institute, the REonline and TeachRE websites have pooled their resources and created an online, distance learning Booster Course which allows non-specialist graduates to gain the extra subject knowledge expertise they need for the classroom. The booster course materials are based on the QCA non statutory framework and provide access to the main belief traditions in the UK. Graduates can therefore boost their knowledge of the main non-theistic and theistic belief traditions in the UK, and gain valuable insights into the religious and non-religious traditions in the UK. The Culham Institute is managing to help with funding of the course for an additional year, but it is hoped that the TDA will once again recognise the key importance of these enhancement courses for those trainees without specialist RE knowledge and take on board the issue that recruitment of high quality RE teachers will suffer without them. 

Further details of the course can be found at www.teachre.co.uk 
AFAN is a programme designed to facilitate classroom dialogue and mutual understanding between young people from diverse backgrounds of faith and belief, with initial funding from LSC. Structured around a set of ‘Big Questions’ originally generated by 16-19 students around key topics such as Death, God, Authority, Sex etc, AFAN materials are designed to support teachers and students to explore these issues.

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