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Home arrow Newsletter arrow Newsletter Archive arrow Newsletter Archive arrow REC Newsletter June 2010
REC Newsletter June 2010 Print E-mail

Welcome to this issue of the REC newsletter.  If you have information about projects, conferences, reports or developments you'd like included in the next one please email it to me by 21st 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



A bi-national month long celebration of RE in England and Wales is being planned for March 2011.  Activities are being planned by SACREs and faith and belief communities as well as schools; these will include visits, performances, creative approaches and competitions as well as exhibitions and displays which flag up the interesting work people are already doing in RE.  We hope every pupil in every school will be able to take part in some kind of special event or activity during Celebrating RE month.  Further details on the website (now live, at last!): www.celebratingre.org  


With the aim of developing the subject and professional knowledge of teachers of religious education, the DCSF and the Religious Education Council of England and Wales have commissioned the production of an online Religious Education Handbook. The Handbook is actively supported by a number of leading religious education organisations. While not aiming to be comprehensive, the Handbook aims to make a major contribution to the continuing professional development of both primary and secondary teachers. In addition to guidance on teaching, learning and assessment in religious education, the Handbook will provide up-to-date information on important initiatives such as community cohesion. With the contributions from faith communities, academics, advisors and teachers, this new online resource will be peer-reviewed before publication, and should be live from June 2010.  The link for the project will be: www.re-handbook.org.uk - PLEASE note this is still work in progress until peer review and steering group approval.

The Religious Education Handbook is edited by Professor Liam Gearon, , to whom should be sent comments, critiques and suggestions.



The REsilience project, designed to build secondary teachers'confidence to handle contentious issues in RE, has now completed its pilot stage in England and is in the process of doing so in Wales.  Project mentors have been interviewed and selected and training will take place in late June.  Schools are invited to register interest in taking part by signing up on the website at www.re-silience.org.uk


'How has a Subject Booster Course influenced a group of RE interns in their classroom practice and sense of competence as emerging RE teachers?' (Department of Education, Oxford University)

 This is a qualitative research project using a 'life histories' approach examining whether a subject booster course in world religions and humanism gives trainees the skills needed to build their competence in the classroom and how it might affect  the kind of RE teachers they want to be. A control group who did not do a booster course, alongside the perceptions of course providers, will help to identify emerging themes. In terms of impact and benefit to the wider community the findings will help ITE providers and students evaluate the benefits of such courses as well as contributing to wider academic and professional understanding of the concept of subject knowledge within RE and hopefully pave the way for further research and collaboration into the role of PGCE courses in RE.

Further details at: www.share-re.org.uk/pg/dashboard/   or  from


JAINpedia is a national project which is digitising Jain manuscripts held in the V&A Museum, British Library, Wellcome Trust Library and Bodleian Library Oxford; it will hold major exhibitions over the next 2 years at these institutions.  The first JAINpedia exhibition opened at the V&A on Friday 14th May 10 and will be displayed in the Museum's prestigious Nehru Gallery of Indian Art till 31st December 2012.  The exhibition will consist of 20 beautiful manuscripts, manuscript covers and paintings a series of events and activities will coincide with this special display.  For more information please visit www.jainpedia.org or contact Rajiv Anand (Museum Consultant) or contact



Dr Harshad N Sanghrajka was invited by several ASEAN countries to present lectures on Jainism.

A course developed by the Institute to discuss a philosophical poem, The Self Realisation, on Jain ontology, doctrine and sotereology was delivered in 10 sessions of two hours each. The course was well received and advantage was taken of the spare time to arrange discussions on various religious topics. The tour lasted for two weeks in India as a religious retreat and eight weeks in Singapore, Malaysia and Perth in Australia; similar courses have been requested for the future from all locations.  www.jainology.org  



NATRE has launched four new resources on its website (www.natre.org.uk):

1. Developing RE through Music.  This resource is based around a database of songs which could be used to support teaching and learning in RE. It is divided into 60 different RE themes. You can 'click and listen' to an extract. More will be added over the course of the term

2. Big Picture for RE.  The Big Picture for RE contains links from each aspect of the curriculum to relevant RE materials. It is an ideal tool for quick reference and to support CPD.

3. Support pack.  This is designed to support new groups starting out as well as providing some inspiration for established NATRE group of teachers. The pack is full of ideas, tips, resources, examples of what is working well in other groups ... and more. Email if you want to find out more.

4. Bursaries.  The outcomes of 20 NATRE curriculum bursaries. Projects cover the 4 - 16 age-range and provide an invaluable collection of ideas and stimulus to your own planning and delivery of RE. [Members' area]



BREA, the Baha'i RE Agency of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the UK, has just launched its new website.  This is intended to be of assistance to RE teachers wishing to address the Baha'i faith and its teachings.  The website is located at www.BREAuk.org



The Annual Conference of the Association of University Lecturers in Religion and Education (AULRE) will be held on July 1st and 2nd in Norwich. The topic is "Religion, Education and Spiritual Development" and keynote speakers include Professor Ursula King and Dr Marion Bowman. The conference is open to members and non-members alike - all REC member organisations are very welcome - and will address the nature of spirituality as well the its relationship to education.
For further details and application forms please see the AULRE website: www.aulre.org.uk


Dr Lynn Revell, an RE tutor at Canterbury Christ Church University, has completed a research project on Christian and atheist student RE teachers' attitudes to objectivity and professionalism. This revealed that the Christians believe that sharing their faith would be unprofessional whereas atheists believed that sharing their beliefs could be a positive contribution to an RE lesson. The research report is available from Lynn at Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 1QU or .



 ‘RE for the 2010's - a new curriculum context'.  Have you thought about this outstanding residential opportunity for CPD provided by the leading providers?  If you've attended one of the earlier Weekends - do tell your colleagues who are RE teachers and encourage them to share good times.  If you haven't been to an RE Teacher Weekend  go to  http://www.culham.ac.uk/sg/octoberconference.php  for details of the weekend [free except for travel costs] and previous events - including a short video of what's in store if you come.


(www.afan.uk.net) All Faiths and None is the curriculum resource developed with DfES support, primarily for 16-19 students in FE colleges.  The resource is being used in many colleges to assist with the implementation of the new non-statutory framework for SMSC in FE (available at: http://www.lsis.org.uk/Documents/Publications/SMSC%20Web.pdf ).   It has also been trialled and found useful in school Sixth Form and 14-19 contexts. Free staff  development workshops are being offered to colleges this term and it may be possible to include one or two schools, initially in the London/SE region in July. If your school would be interested please let us know at


Assembly at Eton College on:  ‘Why youth today prefer to be labelled Spiritual rather than Religious?' It was suggested that the reason why youngsters move away from religions and prefer to be labelled as spiritual is because they find religious teachings at loggerheads with science and common sense. The term spiritual offers them greater freedom to explore a deeper dimension to themselves as well as the world they live in. Discovering spirituality through variety of other endeavours like art, music, poetry, literature and science are considered far more attractive. Religions can be viewed as theistic as well as non-theistic approaches adopted by mankind to achieve the same end using different guises.   For further information see www.hinduacademy.org


Hindu Council UK (www.hinducounciluk.org) continues to offer a faith perspective on health issues. A session was organised by the Association of Pastoral Care for Mental Health in Croydon. Hindu insights on issues relating to mental health were explored. Consumerism promoted by strong commercial forces with the support of robust advertising produces a vicious cycle that keeps the ordinary person permanently under stress to perform and on the point of mental breakdown. It was suggested that religions have a serious role to play in breaking this vicious cycle by promoting spiritual aspirations over material ones. HCUK also contributed at a seminar held by the Ethnic Minority Centre of Mitcham on the theme of ‘Preventing Violent Extremism' by promoting the idea of spiritual democracy which allows each individual to unfold spiritually in the mode that suits his or her own temperament.      


REonline has recently launched a new online social network for RE (www.share-re.org.uk ).  This is for everyone involved in religious education and enables users to network at a professional level.
 Entitled Share, the site has been piloted with Oxford University's RE PGCE group and has proved a great success with trainees, tutors and mentors; users can set up profiles, join and set up groups, search for and share resources and get help and advice from their peers.  We hope all RE professionals will join the network and really connect with RE. We are also extending an open invitation to all RE organizations and RE PGCE groups to freely use the site to interact with their members and trainees, promote their resources and news or simply to promote themselves to the RE community. For more information, see: http://www.share-re.org.uk or contact James Robson:  


The Bahá'í community of the UK is offering an Interfaith study course entitled "Scientific and Spiritual Dimensions of Climate Change". Developed by the International Environment Forum and piloted in the US and UK, the course will enable participants to gain a deeper understanding of climate change by learning about its underlying causes and some of its impacts, to explore ethical questions connected to climate change and address these within the context of the spiritual teachings found in the world's religions, and to discuss and apply practical solutions. A participant on the UK pilot course in April 2010 commented "The course fills an important gap in my understanding that the earth is a vital resource.  With greater knowledge comes greater responsibility.  Now I need to address the causes and do something!"..........  For further information email Ineke Gijsbers on or Jenny Lockwood on .


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