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, 21 Nov 2017 13:49:00 +0000 Check out our brand new secondary resource! http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/check-out-our-brand-new-secondary-resource http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/513 Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:49:00 +0000 Exploring essential concepts: a poster pack for RE

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We have a brand new resource for all of you secondary teachers of RE, Exploring essential concepts: a poster pack for RE is a collection of 12 artworks which were created by Si Smith for one of our popular series of curriculum resource books, Essential RE. The series was written to provide ideas and classroom resources centred around 12 essential concepts that are both at the heart of religious and non-religious worldviews, and also of central value for getting pupils to think about their own understanding of themselves and the world around them.

We have gained permission off the artist to pull these together into a poster pack for you which displays the 12 Essential RE covers onto hard-backed posters that you can use in your RE lessons along with the teacher guide book on how to use these best. On top of all of this you also get access to 190 downloadable images of the various images used within the covers.

Find out more here

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25 primary schools put the Archbishop’s under the spotlight in a live online Q&A session http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/the-archbishops-broadcasts-live-online-to-25-primary-schools http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/512 Thu, 16 Nov 2017 10:32:00 +0000  Archbishop-Justin-and-Fiona-Moss-edited.jpg

We are delighted to have been asked by the Diocese of Leicester to host a live webinar with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby during his three-day visit to the city.

In an amongst his busy schedule he agreed to join us at Billesdon Church of England Primary School in Leicestershire, where RE Today Adviser Fiona Moss and team hosted a live webinar to 25 schools and 100 pupils across the city.

Through the beauty of technology the Archbishop, Bishop of Leicester Bishop Martyn and Director of Education Carolyn Lewis interacted with 100 pupils through a Q and A session around prayer. Ahead of the webinar pupils were asked to submit pre-prepared questions, these were then passed back out to the schools to vote through an interactive poll on the day to decide which questions they most wanted the Archbishop to answer. He was asked many thought-provoking questions by the pupils about prayer and worship such as;

‘Sometimes our prayers are answered, sometimes not. What should we do about this?’

‘As well as praying, is there another way to communicate with God?’

‘Why did you dedicate your life to God, and did prayer help with this decision?’

And many more…

Overall it was a fabulous day enjoyed by all, including the Archbishop who was extremely impressed with the RE Today’s professionalism, webinar software, presentation and coordination of the day.

Here are what some of the children had to say:

‘It caused the children to think really deeply about the big questions in life!’
Joy Hardy, Head teacher, Queniborough CE Primary School

‘The children really enjoyed being part of something special. They were interested in questions from other schools and these triggered more questions form them. They enjoyed hearing the answers form the panel.’
Louisa Sylvester, Teacher, Market Harborough C of E Academy

‘The discussion they had around the questions during the event really impressed me. It was lovely to sit behind them and allow them that time to discuss their thoughts in such a special way.’
Debbie Yeomans, SHLTA, St Margarets Primary School

Pictured above L to R: Archbishop Justin Welby and RE Today Adviser Fiona Moss.

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‘Chatting to the RE commissioners: your chance to tell them about RE in your school’ http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/chatting-to-the-re-commissioners-your-chance-to-tell-them-about-re-in-your-school http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/511 Wed, 08 Nov 2017 09:09:00 +0000 #REchatUK took place on Monday 06 November at 8pm-9pm
If you missed it and want to catch up on the discussion you can see it here:

‘Chatting to the RE commissioners: your chance to tell them about RE in your school’
If you have any suggestions for a great topic be please send a tweet to @NATREupdate.
Keep an eye out on our #REchatUK timetable 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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Dispelling some myths about SACRE funding http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/dispelling-some-myths-about-sacre-funding http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/510 Thu, 26 Oct 2017 11:51:00 +0000 NATRE members who serve on SACREs often contact NATRE about problems with funding. There seems to be a certain amount of misinformation being shared suggesting that Local Authorities no longer receive funding for SACREs and Agreed Syllabus Conferences. This is simply not true. The document below from NATRE sets out the facts about funding and includes references to statutory documents. We hope it helps you to ensure that SACRE receives the funding that National Government intends you to receive to carry out your duties.

As SACRE funding is provided as part of a grant that covers a number of duties that Local Authorities must provide, NATRE would be keen to hear from individuals about the amount of funding that is being provided as a percentage of the overall grant. We will work with NASACRE (The National Association of SACREs) to collate this information and take steps help to encourage reasonable decisions about the funding of SACREs and Agreed Syllabus Conferences.

Funding for SACREs 2017

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Spirited Arts 2017 gallery is now live! http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/spirited-arts-2017-gallery-is-now-live http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/509 Thu, 26 Oct 2017 11:24:00 +0000 NATRE would like to thank all of the schools, teachers and pupils for taking the time to enter the 2017 Art in Heaven competition. Congratulations to all the winners!

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(Photo by: Abigail McKnight 14 - ‘Does science leave no room for religion’)

There were five categories in the Art in Heaven competition this year, all attracting very large numbers of entries.  NATRE estimate that over 20 000 children and young people took part in the competition, and they would like thank them all, and their teachers for the insight, hard work and spiritual thinking that went on. Winning one of the 40 prizes is a great achievement!

Many teachers wrote to share experiences of the competition: ‘it has an impact on standards, depth, creativity and enjoyment in RE for pupils aged 5-18’. Judging, as always, was a tremendous challenge. The winners all receive a shopping voucher, and winning schools are also rewarded with a voucher worth £35 to spend on NATRE / RE Today resources, membership or CPD of their choice. All entrants sent to NATRE receive certificates of achievement.

The web gallery gets hundreds of thousands of hits: do use it with your pupils as preparation for the next competition and as good RE. The winners and the full range of commended entries are now available to view on our website. Next year’s competition details are available online, and the fresh themes for 2018 are enclosed with this mailing. We look forward to seeing your pupils work next year! Many schools have built the competition into their schemes of RE work, and we encourage this!

NATRE’s Spirited Arts competition benefit from the generous support of the All Saints Educational Trust and the Westhill Trust, so we run the competition on a free to enter basis! Thanks to them for their invaluable support.

Check out the Spirited Arts 2017 gallery here.

Fancy taking part next year? Spirited Arts 2018 themes are available here.

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Interim report from the Commission on RE (CORE) http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/interim-report-from-the-commission-on-re-core http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/508 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:15:00 +0000 NATRE are pleased to note that CORE has produced a substantial Interim Report of their work. This uses much evidence from the State of the Nation report, published by the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE), the Religious Education Council and RE Today on 18 September. The report shows that the commission share NATRE’s concern over the number of state secondary schools struggling to meet their legal requirement to deliver RE.  NATRE and the REC are calling for the Government to make a clear public statement that it is not acceptable for a school to provide no RE and to review how provision is benchmarked.

We are pleased that the commission has called for more evidence and comment as a result of this report. We would like to encourage all our members to send comments and further evidence to CORE. The report notes that the commission need more evidence on RE in primary schools and we hope that our members will be able to engage with the commission on this. One of the commissioners will be taking part in our #REchatUK on Monday 6 November 8-9pm.

Daniel Hugill, Chair, NATRE comments:

‘NATRE welcome the publication of the Interim Report ‘Religious Education for All’ from the Commission on Religious Education. We are pleased that the Commission has made clear recommendations and that further consultation will follow. We would encourage all teachers of RE to engage with the report and respond to the consultation. NATRE will be working hard to assist NATRE affiliated local groups to discuss and respond to the Interim Report.


We are especially pleased to see the Interim Report reflecting NATRE’s own concerns over training, provision, and the effects of school accountability measures. These are all areas where NATRE have long campaigned and were reflected in the joint NATRE and RE Council report ‘State of the Nation’ published just last week.’

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800,000 secondary pupils lose out on religious literacy http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/800000-secondary-pupils-lose-out-on-religious-literacy http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/507 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:09:00 +0000 New analysis of the Government’s School Workforce Census reveals that more than one in four (28%)[1] state secondary schools are struggling to meet their legal obligation to teach pupils about major religions and systems of belief, depriving teenagers of vital knowledge about different faiths and beliefs in community, public and world affairs.

All state-funded schools, including academies and free schools, are legally required by the 1998 School Standards and Framework Act to provide Religious Education as part of a balanced curriculum.

The analysis of Government figures prompted the Religious Education Council and the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) to create a new State of the Nation report. The report includes data from the School Workforce Census and GCSE figures, as well as survey responses from 790 secondary schools. The research found that:

  • 25% of all schools surveyed said a weekly RE lesson to ensure pupils understand different religions and beliefs is not available. In academies and free schools, where RE is determined as part of the funding agreement, this figure rose to 34% for 11 to 13 year olds, and 44% for 14 to 16 year olds. Four per cent of schools with a religious character do not offer a weekly lesson.
  • RE also receives the lowest level of teaching time in academies and free schools. A majority (56%) dedicate less than 3% of their timetables (around 40 minutes) to RE; this low level of RE is only found in a third of schools where a locally agreed syllabus applies and 10% of schools with a religious character.
  • Despite Religious Studies GCSE remaining a popular choice among students, it is still allocated less than the recommended level of teaching time of two hours per week in many schools; 43% of pupils are taught their GCSE full course in under one hour a week, nearly half (48%) receive one hour and a half or less of teaching.
  • Students are more likely to have a teacher trained with the appropriate level of subject knowledge and expertise who can create a space to discuss faiths and beliefs in a school with a religious character (90%) than in schools where RE is determined with the locally agreed syllabus (73%), or academies and free schools where RE is determined as part of their funding agreement (66%).


NATRE’s Research Officer, Deborah Weston, said: “Whilst many schools, including academies and free schools, are continuing to deliver good RE, these statistics highlight serious problems that have implications for cohesion and inclusivity in our society, as well as presenting questions around the role of specialist RE teachers in schools. By developing knowledge and understanding about different religions and worldviews in the security of a classroom, young people have the opportunity to engage with complex, diverse and constantly evolving subject matter.

“Today, it is important to be religiously literate and to understand and question the accuracy of claims about different religions. RE provides for critical exploration of individual beliefs and values, whilst opening up the discussion about religion and belief in the communities we live in. These figures are alarming as they provide statistical evidence of a trend we have been hearing about from RE teachers, and come at a time where respect and tolerance for others’ beliefs is essential.”

Chief Executive of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, added:

“More than ever, as our society becomes multicultural and religious extremism dominates the news agenda, we need young people to be religiously literate. We have been encouraged by an improved profile and better understanding for RE in schools from policy makers at both Ofsted and the Department for Education. They have committed to paying closer attention to RE, which makes these new statistics about schools’ struggling to provide required levels of RE all the more alarming.

“RE knowledge is vital in ensuring all school leavers go into the world of work and beyond, understanding the differences, identifying distortions and being part of the broader change needed to ensure communities are cohesive and well-integrated for future generations.”

In light of these findings, both the REC and NATRE remain committed to ensuring all pupils in all schools receive fair access to Religious Education. They are calling for the Government to make a clear public statement that it is not acceptable for a school to provide no RE as well as to review how provision is benchmarked.

Access the full reports here:

State of the Nation report

GCSE Religious Studies 2014-2016 report

NATRE report on the provision for RE

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For media enquiries please contact:

Colin Hallmark or Harriet Johnson, 3:nine Communications:

Tel: 0207 736 1888; 07745 914170;

email: info@3nine.co.uk

Notes to editors - State of the Nation report methodology

The School Workforce Census analysis was undertaken following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request on 4th February 2017 by the National Association of Teachers of RE. The FOI request gained data for each school that admits secondary aged pupils in England, for each of the five years 2010-2015 and for each year group: the number of hours of RE taught (including those where the information provided would be ‘no response’ or the response is zero); the number of hours taught to the year group; and the percentage of the RE hours taught. We found that 787 schools (28%) of all the 2,793 Census schools said they gave no time to RE in Year 11. We then multiplied that figure by the average state secondary school size (1,000) to reach a figure of 800,000 pupils.

State of the Nation polling was carried out through an online survey sent to all secondary schools in England. A total of 790 responses were recorded, and from these we can ascertain that 318 were from schools where a locally agreed syllabus applies, 93 were from schools with religious character (including academies where a Diocesan of ‘faith-based’ syllabus applies), and 139 were from academies without a religious character (but where the funding agreement states the requirement for RE provision). The remaining 240 schools could not be identified, but their input has remained part of the valid data set.

As such, we found that schools with a locally agreed syllabus were over-represented (from 25.6% nationally to 40% within this data set), schools with religious character were underrepresented (from 39.7% nationally to 11.7% within this data set), but academies without a religious character were very proportionally represented (17.5% nationally and 17.7% within this data set). However, if it were possible to identify the remaining 240 schools within the data set, it is possible that the representation of different types of schools would level out.

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 Humanists UK.

[1] Analysis of the Government’s School Workforce Census focused on the number of hours of RE taught; the number of hours taught to the year group; and the percentage of RE hours taught. We found that 787 schools (28%) of all the 2,793 Census schools said they gave no time to RE in Year 11.

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26 short films for 11-14s in the ‘A-Z of Religion’ http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/26-short-films-for-11-14s-in-the-a-z-of-religion http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/506 Thu, 24 Aug 2017 10:15:00 +0000 New RE programmes from BBC for 11-14s

BBC have made new secondary RE programmes to address both a gap in current teacher resource provision and also to respond to teachers’ feedback about the type of resources they need to deliver RE. The secondary programmes are an A-Z of world religions and belief, covering subjects as diverse as religious clothing, extremism, the distribution of wealth and more philosophical themes.

Teachers will value these new RE resources: there is a wide representation of the UK’s different faith groups. They have had input from faith leaders and teachers during the production process to ensure they will be of maximum benefit in the classroom and meet the different curriculum requirements of RE teaching. The programming will enable some fun RE. The secondary clips use a contemporary animation style, and a light tone to cover some deep stuff. think the chosen subject matter will provide a great springboard to learning about different faiths and beliefs, as well as a stimulus for engaging classroom debate.

These new films are now available on BBC Teach.

Lat Blaylock, RE Today Adviser has been involved as a consultant in making the series, he comments:

‘I’m really glad BBC have made these new programmes, and hope teachers will use them widely. I’m pleased with the content and style. We are currently making 26 lesson ideas, so watch this space. You could use them for a whole term’s homework of supported self study!’

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Entries for Religious Studies A level remain high with the fastest growth among arts, humanities and social sciences http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/entries-for-religious-studies-a-level-remain-high-with-the-fastest-growth-among-arts-humanities-and-social-sciences http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/505 Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:06:00 +0000 The key outcomes of the 2017 A level results in England and Wales for Religious Education are as follows:

  • 23,856 RS A level entries were recorded, a small decrease of 4.0% on 2016. Much of this decrease is explained by a decrease in the number of 18-year-olds in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland of 1.7%
  • Despite the decrease in entries for RS, there are still more than double the number in 2003 (11,132 entries were recorded in 2003)
  • The increase of 114% in the number of entries for RS A level since 2003 is greater than for any arts, humanity or social science subject (the nearest subject is Political Studies with an increase of 90%). Among all subjects, only Further Maths has seen more rapid growth than RS
  • 3% of entries for RS A level were awarded an A or an A*
  • There were 16,308 entries for RS at AS level, a decrease of 54% on 2016; this reflects the decline across all subjects where the number of AS entries fell by 40% across England and Wales. Despite the drop there are still more entries than in 2003 (15,482 entries were recorded in 2003)
  • The importance of RS A Level as a subject for Higher Education entry and for graduate recruiters is increasingly recognised by independent bodies. The Russell Group of top universities has made it clear that RS A level provides ‘suitable preparation for University generally’, and both Oxford and Cambridge University include Religious Studies in the top level list of ‘generally suitable Arts A levels’.


In fact, almost 21% of students admitted to Oxford University to study English and 13.5% admitted to study History in 2015 had an RS A level, more than those with Economics, Physics and Business Studies A levels.1

Employers are also recognising the value of religious literacy. For example, in February 2017, EY announced the creation of Religious Literacy for Organisations (RLO), a diversity and inclusion training programme designed to help organisations better understand religious inclusion and its positive impact on business process and performance.

Career prospects for those that take Religious Studies/Theology at degree level are also very bright, with 25% of 2015 graduates going on to work in the fields of legal, social and welfare, 11% choosing to become educational professionals and almost 5% managers.2

The high number of pupils taking A level and AS level Religious Studies is all the more impressive for coming at a time when there is a shortfall in recruitment for teacher training in Religious Education. Evidence collected by the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) suggests that headteachers are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit RE specialists.

Comment from Daniel Hugill, Chair, National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE)

“Congratulations to the many students receiving their Religious Studies results today. Their results are the product of their hard work grappling with some of the most difficult questions to ever puzzle humankind. Congratulations to their teachers too who have worked tirelessly to ensure that their students can reach their full potential. It is of little surprise to those of us who teach RS that it remains so popular amongst young people. RS A-level is an excellent preparation for both further study and for entering the world of work. RS is a subject that helps young people gain access to a wide range of degree courses including those at the most prestigious Universities. Our most recent Freedom of Information request found that more than 1 in 10 students admitted to Oxford’s Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) and History courses had studied RS A-Level. This statistic increases to more than 1 in 5 for students admitted to study English. The subject matter and approach of an RS A-level helps to equip students with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary to succeed in modern Britain.”

Comment from Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, Chief Executive, Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC):

“It’s fantastic to see how popular Religious Studies A level remains. This is a highly rated subject that offers pupils the opportunity to explore crucial questions in relation to beliefs, values and morality. In doing so it provides an excellent preparation for living in a multi-faith, multi-cultural world. What’s more, Religious Studies is a rigorous, academic A-level that provides an excellent foundation for further study in a wide range of academic subjects, and remains a very attractive qualification to universities. These results are really encouraging, but there’s still work to do. I hope that the Government will want to work with us to turn enough of today’s keen A level pupils into tomorrow’s teachers to help meet the shortfall in appropriately qualified teachers of religious education that we currently face.”

Numbers of A level entries in arts, humanities and social sciences in England and Wales by selected subject area, 2003 to 2017

Notes: GCE A level results of A level candidates in England and Wales.
Source: Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ)

Download: Full press release including testimonials from students

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For media enquiries, contact:

Colin Hallmark, 3:nine Communications:

Tel: 0207 736 1888

Mubina Khan-Daniels, RE Today Services

Tel: 0121 415 3970 / 0121 458 3313

Notes for editors:

[1] Religious Studies ‘A’ level continues to be popular with Universities

2 Data collected for “What do graduates do? Higher Education Career Services Unit www.hecsu.ac.uk

3 Due to a change in the way that JCQ present the data, figures for 2003 to 2015 include entries from candidates in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, figures for 2016 and 2017 do not. This change has a relatively small impact on the time series data. 2016 is the only year in which it is possible to measure the impact of this methodological change: there were 117 entries for Religious Studies from candidates in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man suggesting that the impact of the change will be very slight

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 religion and belief organisations inclusive of the range of faith communities found nationally, including Humanists UK.

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Government consultation response: Implementing the English Baccalaureate http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/government-consultation-response-implementing-the-english-baccalaureate http://www.retoday.org.uk/news/permalink/504 Mon, 31 Jul 2017 11:56:00 +0000 NATRE notes the long awaited response to the Government consultation on the English Baccalaureate. We are well aware that the introduction of the English Baccalaureate and the change in accountability measures in secondary schools has resulted in many more pupils not receiving their statutory entitlement to RE at Key Stage 4. However we were pleased to read in paragraph 72 of the Government Response to the Consultation on the EBacc, a reminder to schools that RE must be taught to all pupils until the end of key stage 5 and that a qualification such as GCSE SHOULD be offered at the end of key stage 4.
NATRE looks forward to continuing to work with the Department for Education and its ministers to ensure that school accountability measures including performance tables and inspections are soon in place that have the effect that this expectation is met in all state funded schools.
Fiona Moss, Executive Officer NATRE.

Despite what the government continually says in answers to questions in parliament and in this response, NATRE know that there are a large number of pupils who do not receive their entitlement to RE and therefore are not religiously literate. It is essential that pupils in 2017 are prepared for the modern world, religious literacy is an indisputable part of this. There is much more that the DFE can do and we look forward to working with them on this.

NATRE believes that it is essential to reward those schools that take their pupils entitlement to high quality religious education seriously and to hold to account those that neglect the subject and so fail to prepare students adequately for life in the modern world.

Read the full document here: Implementing_the_EBacc_Government_Consultation_Response

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