RE Today Services news http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/feed/rss RE Today Services works nationally and internationally to support Religious Education in schools. RE Today is wholly owned by the charity Christian Education, and is committed to the teaching of the major world faiths. Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:17:00 +0100 #REchatUK: 'What makes for excellent assessment in RE?' http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/rechatuk-what-makes-for-excellent-assessment-in-re http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/497 Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:17:00 +0100 #REchatUK took place on Monday 25 April at 8pm-9pm
If you missed it and want to catch up on the discussion you can see it here:
#REchatUK: What makes for excellent assessment in RE?

If you have any suggestions for a great topic be please send a tweet to @NATREupdate.

Keep an eye out on our #REchatUK timetable here to see when the next #REchatUK will be.

For regular updates follow us on @NATREupdate.

#REchatUK Poster - for your staffroom to help get others involved in RE.

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NATRE & RE Council's joint statement on Religious Education and the 2017 General Election http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/natre-re-councils-joint-statement-on-religious-education-and-the-2017-general-election http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/496 Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:07:00 +0100 With the General Election fewer than 50 days away, and political parties hurrying to put together their manifestos, here are four things that we would like to see them include in order to help ensure that all pupils are able to have high quality religious education:

1. To take note of the recommendations of the Commission on Religious Education when they are published (due in the second half of 2018), and to explore how best to implement them.​​
2. To back up the current statutory requirement that schools provide religious education to all pupils with proper means to hold them to account, both for the level of provision and also its quality.
3. To increase the number of trained and qualified teachers of religious education, in order to eliminate the current shortfall.
4. To guarantee that all one year primary Initial Teacher Training (ITT) students to receive a minimum of 12 hours of subject specific training in religious education.

What is good RE?

RE is a vibrant, academically rigorous subject that bears little resemblance to the religious instruction seen in many schools in previous generations. Covering multiple faiths and non-religious worldviews, RE challenges children to explore faith and belief in a way that gives them the transferable skills of literacy and reasoning in the classroom and allows them to gain a better understanding of the world around them.

Why do these four commitments matter?

1. To take note of the recommendations of the Commission on Religious Education when they are published (due in the second half of 2018), and to explore how best to implement them.

The Commission on Religious Education (CoRE) is a high-profile independent commission with a remit to make recommendations designed to improve the quality and rigour of religious education, and its capacity to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain. It was established in mid-2016 and is due to report in late-2018. CoRE was establishment following the publication of three key reports in 2015 that called for reform of RE, and after the 2016 Education White Paper proposed changes to the role of Local Authorities that would radically undermine the legal underpinning of RE without proposing a means for safeguarding RE’s future. Establishing CoRE follows on from the recommendations of the 2013 REC Review of Religious Education.

2. To back up the current statutory requirements that schools provide religious education to all pupils with proper means to hold them to account, both for the level of provision and also its quality.

It is a legal obligation to teach Religious Education (RE) in schools to pupils between the ages of 4 -18 years of age. Nonetheless, many schools do not always meet their statutory duty. According to the Department for Education’s school workforce data[1] 28.2% of schools provide no RE in year 11, an increase of almost 13% since 2010. In addition, 42% of Academies are not meeting their legal requirements at Key Stage 4. At present, there are insufficient means for holding schools to account when they fail to offer RE to their pupils. All too often schools are held to account via performance indicators such as the Ebacc, which excludes RE. We would like to see political parties committing to working with the RE Council and NATRE to develop practical means for ensuring that schools are meeting the legal obligation to teach RE.

3. To increase the number of trained and qualified teachers of religious education, in order to eliminate the current shortfall.

There is a crisis in the provision of RE teachers, with a constant and increasing lack of specialist teachers in the subject. Over the past three years the number of RE teachers have fallen by more than 1,000, while the number of History teachers has remained relatively stable and the headcount of geography teachers has increased by 500. Children’s entitlement to high quality RE is being put at risk because of the failure to secure a workforce of teachers who can safeguard their religious literacy and wider preparation for life in modern Britain. According to the DfE Workforce Census published in July 2015, 29.6% of RE lessons in a typical week are taught by teachers with no post A Level qualification in the subject. When RE is taught by teachers that are not specialists in the subject there is a risk that issues within the curriculum and general discussion can be ignored for fear of offence or a lack of understanding.

4. To guarantee that all one year primary Initial Teacher Training (ITT) students to receive a minimum of 12 hours of subject specific training in religious education.

On average, a primary trainee teacher receives less than three hours of training in RE on a PGCE or Schools Direct one year course. This is insufficient for them to cover a subject as complicated and important as RE. We believe that if all primary ITE students had a minimum of 12 hours of RE training this would put them in a far stronger position once they are in the classroom. 12 hours is the equivalent of just two days within a one year course: this is a realistic and deliverable aspiration.

[1] Based on an analysis of 2,793 schools in England in 2015

National Association of Teachers of RE
NATRE is the subject teacher association for RE professionals in primary and secondary schools and higher education, providing a representative voice at national level and publications and courses to promote professional development. NATRE’s Executive consists of a majority of serving teachers from primary and secondary schools who are elected for a three-year term of service.

Religious Education Council of England and Wales

Established in 1973, the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) brings together over 60 national organisations. These comprise academic and professional associations specialising in religions and religious education, as well as individual religions and belief organisations inclusive of the range of faith communities found nationally, including the British Humanist Association.

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New2RE programme September 2017 http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/new2re-2017 http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/495 Tue, 14 Mar 2017 12:06:00 +0000 New to RE?

Find the best support for the start of your career here!

Are you likely to be a newly qualified secondary RE teacher in September 2017?
Are you keen to extend your repertoire of strategies for teaching RE?
Would support with deepening subject knowledge be helpful as you teach six religions and non-religious worldviews?
Would you value having an experienced RE teacher/leader as a personal mentor?
If so, you’ll be pleased to hear about the New2RE programme from the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE). Now in its fourth year, the New2RE programme is currently supporting 71 new teachers as they begin their careers.

New2RE is designed to support you in the first three years of your teaching career and help you develop your subject knowledge and your confidence as a teacher of RE. The programme will be tailored to your needs and is designed to complement and enhance the provision offered by your school.

The programme is free to the teacher, subject to a contribution of £120 from your participating school, and permission from your head teacher/principal to attend the residential course.

Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity for early career development! There are only 25 places available, so get in touch to register your interest today!

Click here to find out more.

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RE State of the Nation research http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/re-state-of-the-nation-research http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/494 Fri, 24 Feb 2017 15:39:00 +0000 This is a formal request information around the provision of Religious Education (RE) in your school, as part of the first nationwide project to collect information on RE in all ~4,500 state-funded secondary schools in England and Wales.

This important project, spearheaded by the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC), National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) and RE Today, is running parallel to, but independent of, the continuing work of the Commission on Religious Education, which is conducting a review over the next two years of the legal, education, and policy frameworks for RE in all schools and colleges.

The information gathered from this research project will be used to establish a picture of RE provision across the country.”

We are formally requesting, therefore, that you provide information about RE in your school by completing the following survey (or forward to the RE subject lead for completion):

Complete the survey.

Please send your responses by Friday 17 March.
It should take around 15-20 minutes.

For more information about the survey, visit the NATRE website.

If you have any queries please email Sara Petela at sara@mailpbconsulting.com or call 0207 735 6963.

Thank you for your support.
Fiona Moss
Executive Officer
NATRE

Rudolf Eliott Lockhart
Chief Executive
RE Council

Zoe Keens
Chief Executive Officer
RE Today

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The Commission on Religious Education Call for Evidence http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/the-commission-on-religious-education-call-for-evidence http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/493 Fri, 06 Jan 2017 14:12:00 +0000 The Commission on Religious Education (CoRE) is an independent body that was established to review the legal, education, and policy frameworks for religious education (RE) and to make evidence-based recommendations for policy makers and educationalists to consider. CoRE presents a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to think deeply and broadly about the character, significance and role of religious education in our current local, national and global context. This call for evidence 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.

We would encourage schools to fill in the survey which can be found using the link below.

Complete the survey.

Find out more about the Commission on Religious Education.

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Motion for Conference Concerning Religious Education: REtain RE http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/motion-for-conference-concerning-religious-education-retain-re http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/492 Thu, 05 Jan 2017 14:06:00 +0000 The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) shares NATREs concerns about the increasing non-compliance of schools regarding the teaching RE.

There is a motion up for selection for the NASUWT annual conference to enlist the union’s support in strengthening the compliance of teaching RE in schools as the union has had so many cases of academies which no longer have RE on the timetable and members who have lost their RE teaching position.

If you are a NASUWT member who are please log into the NASUWT website online and vote for motion 40 (see below). Motions that poll highest go forward to conference and if approved become union policy. The closing date for voting is 30th Jan 2017. Please share this information with NASUWT members in your school and NATRE local group.

Motion for Conference Concerning Religious Education: REtain RE [motion 40]

Conference asserts that

it is a legal right for pupils to receive RE lessons in accordance with the statutory requirement.

Conference further asserts that

all schools remain responsible for implementing the legally required syllabus (whether the locally agreed syllabus or their individual one) and for monitoring pupils’ progress in RE.

Conference is concerned by

the increasing reports from members in academies in England that RE is no longer on the timetable with the consequence that specialist RE teachers are losing their positions despite RE being more critical than ever with today’s climate of increasing religious and racial tensions.

Conference calls upon

the National Executive to urge OFSTED to clarify inspection guidance by giving a clear curricular time target with regard to RE and to reinstate in its inspection criteria the quality of RE teaching and to urge the DfE to strengthen accountability for the teaching of RE in England by assigning the responsibility and the requisite power to the regional school commissioners.

Visit NASUWT website.

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Over 2,300 teachers have been trained using the 'Understanding Christianity' resource http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/over-2300-teachers-have-been-trained-using-the-understanding-christianity-resource http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/491 Mon, 19 Dec 2016 12:14:00 +0000 Understanding Christianity is a new resource which seeks to develop and enhance the quality of teaching about Christianity in RE in all schools, raising the standards of pupil achievement.

Since the launch in the May this year over 2,300 teachers have been trained on the resources and we are starting to see the impact in RE classrooms across the country. Lively launch events have been followed up with twilight support sessions, and teachers are seizing the opportunity presented by these great resources to do some great RE! From EYFS to Key Stage 3, and in Church schools, Community schools and Academies, the feedback from teachers (and pupils!) is very positive:

Understanding Christianity has given me the confidence to deliver fun and engaging RE. Our early years children have really grasped the concepts so far and have shown a much deeper understanding than I would have expected at such a young age. So I asked my class about the new RE lessons so far…

It made me feel like the world is amazing.
When I went home I saw the Creation in the walls and the trees and the grass and in the sky.
I love learning it.
That’s pretty good for 4 year olds!’

‘The general feeling from my staff is that the resources and planning have captured the children’s imagination, created enthusiasm and deepened their understanding.’

‘Staff were all very impressed with the training and are keen to start using the materials. Our aim is to dip into them for the rest of this academic year and start using them formally in 2017-18 once we have had a chance to look at them in more depth and plan for their place in the RE curriculum.’

‘I think the Understanding Christianity is really effective. The fact that it is concept-based allows for pupils to gain a clear theological understanding through their engagement with biblical texts. Additionally, pupils are able to then consider a diversity of ways that these theological concepts are lived out in contemporary Christendom.

For more information, or to find a trainer near you contact mike@retoday.org or visit: www.understandingchristianity.org.uk to find out more about the project and see some of the great resources.

Understanding Christianity is a Church of England Education Office project working in partnership with Culham St, Gabriel’s, The Jerusalem Trust, Sir Halley Stewart Trust and RE Today services.

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2016 Spirited Arts Gallery is now live! http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/2016-spirited-arts-gallery-is-now-live http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/490 Mon, 19 Dec 2016 12:00:00 +0000 We would like to say a big thank you to all of the schools that participated in our 2016 Spirited Arts competition, we are pleased to announce that this years Spirited Arts gallery is now live.

There were five categories in the Art in Heaven competition this year, all attracting very large numbers of entries. We estimate that about 25,000 children and young people took part in the competition, and we would like thank them all, and their teachers for the insight, hard work and spiritual thinking that went on.

Alongside the winning entries we have a selection of highly commended entries for each of the five categories.

We are also pleased to announce that one of our winners; Class 3 from Grasmere school have had their artwork featured on the ITV news click here to see the news piece.

It doesn’t have to end there if you are inspired then get creative with our 2017 Spirited Arts competition!

We hope you and your students will engage with these themes and enjoy working on them as much as you did this year.

We look forward to seeing your entries for 2017.
Visit the Spirited Arts gallery.

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Concerns over non-compliance in RE http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/concerns-over-non-compliance-in-re http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/489 Mon, 19 Dec 2016 11:56:00 +0000 As readers will be aware NATRE has been in discussion with senior officials from OFSTED to highlight issues of concern to teachers of RE including non-compliance in the teaching of Religious Education in schools and academies. NATRE has recently noticed possible signs that our concerns are being taken more seriously although we are not yet at the point where we can say that an Ofsted inspection will automatically identify issues with RE.

The following extracts are taken from a recently published OFSTED report.

From the Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

The curriculum is inadequate. It does not include some essential elements, such as religious education. The teaching of fundamental British values is weak. Leaders have recently recognised that the way the school day is timetabled is compounding poor learning.

From what does the school need to do to improve further?

Improve the effectiveness of leadership and management by taking the following actions:

– leaders should review the curriculum to ensure that pupils receive their entitlement to the teaching of religious education, careers, British values and personal, social, health and economic education

From Effectiveness of Leadership and Management

The curriculum is inadequate. The headteacher recognises that the way the school day is timetabled is compounding poor learning. Pupils do not receive their full entitlement to subjects such as religious education and personal, social, health and economic education. Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is underdeveloped and the school does not teach pupils in sufficient depth about British values and the dangers of radicalisation and extremism. Reading is developed well in English, but not in other subjects.

Are these extracts worth showing to your Senior Leadership team?
Let us know if this information is useful to those of you having discussions about curricular provision for RE.

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New Guidance on Assessment in RE http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/new-guidance-on-assessment-in-re http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/488 Mon, 19 Dec 2016 11:12:00 +0000 Based on a series of expert summits, hosted by Culham St Gabriel’s, on assessment after levels in RE, Dave Francis has produced the following guidance documents on assessment for RE:ONLINE. These outline the developing thinking around assessment in the new educational landscape and offer a possible framework that teachers can use when thinking about assessment and pupil progression in RE. We hope these will form a suite of documents related to assessment in RE that continues to grow as work and thinking in this area develop.

For more background on moving beyond levels, see a Keynote Presentation given by Dilwyn Hunt at the Energising RE Teacher weekend in 2015

To download the documents visit the RE:ONLINE website

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