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RE Review Phase 2: January 2013 Print E-mail

Under the present coalition government, an extensive review of the National Curriculum is taking place. There is a perception of need as well as entitlement for RE to be reviewed as well, in order to produce new RE documentation which clarifies the subject’s distinctive place in the wider school curriculum as well as giving guidance about suitable content. As part of its Strategic Plan, the Religious Education Council (REC) has undertaken to carry out such a review (‘The RE Subject Review’), a significant outcome of which will be proposals that help teachers to develop and sustain high quality RE alongside the rest of the curriculum.

In July 2012 the REC commissioned an Expert Panel for Phase One of the RE Subject Review comprising four members and with Dr Bill Gent as its chair. The Panel met twice and received submissions from over forty expert witnesses who brought to the process additional specialist professional knowledge of the four particular foci under consideration. The Phase One Expert Panel draft report was presented to the Steering Group for the project at the end of October 2012. After further revision it was presented to a specially constituted Reference Group for the project at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the REC on 7th November 2012. Following that meeting, a final draft was posted on line for wider consultation.

It was considered by the REC Board, the Executive Committee of the REC at a meeting in early December 2012 who recommended that it be adopted, subject to final amendments to be considered by the Steering Group at its meeting on Wednesday 16th  January 2013. This document, and the insights generated through the consultation process – including those that are constructively critical - will inform Phase 2 of the RE Review (February – July 2013).

Work in Phase Two of the RE Subject Review will be led by two Task Groups. Recruitment for the first of those groups has just been completed. Task Group One will develop non statutory guidance material on RE and its curriculum, with particular concern for its aims, its distinctive knowledge, understanding and skills and its assessment. Task Group Two will develop strategies designed to structure and sustain the future of RE. Following the recommendations identified by the Phase One report, this group will work to build influential links with different RE stakeholders to promote RE in schools as well as key external bodies, including the DfE and examination boards. In liaising with different stakeholders and policy makers, they will explore ways in which the collective efforts and wisdom of the whole RE community can be optimised for the benefit of the subject and young people studying it.

You can see a full timeline of the RE Subject Review process and other related documentation here.

Members of Task Group 1 are as follows:

Graham Falgate has spent over three decades working across a range of educational settings in the public sector as a teacher, Head of Faculty and Pastoral Head while in school; then as a well regarded adviser and officer in two local authorities. During his time in local government, Graham has been an RE subject adviser, a School Improvement Officer and latterly the Inclusion Manager for Derby City Children and Young People’s Service. He brings to the Task Group the experience of having been an Ofsted Team Inspector, advising SACREs in two very diverse local authorities and overseeing the revision of three Agreed Syllabuses. Graham is a longstanding member of AREIAC (Association of Religious Education Inspectors, Advisers and Consultants). He was a founder member of The Open Centre, a Derby-based charity that brings schools and the wider community together with faith organizations. 

We are delighted that Graham has agreed to undertake the responsibilities commensurate with the role of Chair of Task Group One on Phase Two of the RE Review.

Kate Christopher is Head of RE at Southend High School for Boys in Essex, having previously been a Head of RE at Holland Park School in West London and a Senior Teacher based in a Pupil Referral Unit in Harrow. She is concurrently a PhD Candidate in Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. Kate brings an unusual and highly valuable combination of ongoing professional experience and academic engagement to the work of Task Group One. She writes for RE Today and REsource and is a member of the NATRE (National Association of Teachers of Religious Education) Executive.

Dilwyn Hunt taught RE for eighteen years before becoming an adviser and inspector of RE in several local authorities over a period of nineteen years. Dilwyn brings to the Task Group the experience of being an Ofsted Team Inspector, LA adviser to SACRE as well as having overseen the writing and revision of Locally Agreed Syllabuses. The author of numerous popular RE classroom resources and books for teachers, Dilwyn continues to publish and is a regular contributor to RE Today and REsource. He is in demand as a speaker at CPD events for RE teachers in both the Primary and Secondary phases and is the vice chair of AREIAC.

Lesley Prior combines the role of Senior Lecturer in Religious Education at the University of Roehampton with that of an adviser for the Diocese of London. She brings a unique range of experience to the work of Task Group One, spanning her development of RE with the very youngest nursery children as a classroom teacher; to her ongoing work as a CPD provider and trainer of RE specialist teachers in the Primary and Secondary phases, both undergraduates and postgraduates. She is a longstanding member of AULRE, AREIAC and the Shap Working Party. Lesley’s most recent work at a national level has centred on her role as vice chair of NASACRE and in November 2012 she defended the locally determined nature of RE passionately and eloquently before the All Party Parliamentary Group for RE (APPG). In addition, Lesley brings a European dimension to the work of the Task Group, having represented England on the European Forum for Teachers of RE (EFTRE) for a number of years.  



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