Redland Education Centre is a church-funded community project, aimed at enriching the religious education of local pupils.
Our aim is to support schools in their delivery of the Locally Agreed Syllabus for RE. All our materials are based on the syllabus.
At REC, we welcome pupils of all faiths and none and seek to value and respect each one’s beliefs. We aim to offer an enjoyable and informative educational experience. It is not our aim to convert learners, or seek to impose on them any particular beliefs. We encourage a thoughtful, questioning approach to RE. We are guided by the Non-Statutory Guidance 2010 for Religious Education in English Schools (see extracts below) produced by the Department for Children, Schools and Families which states that RE should provide “opportunities to promote an ethos of respect for others, challenge stereotypes and build understanding of other cultures and beliefs.”
We encourage parents to accompany their children on a visit to REC, if at all possible, to see our work for themselves. Our workshops and trails are led by experienced teachers and volunteers.
Why do schools teach RE?
Every state maintained school in England must provide a basic curriculum which comprises RE, Sex Education and the National Curriculum. This basic curriculum must be a balanced and broadly based one which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and of society, and prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. RE is highlighted as having a unique contribution to make to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils and to supporting community cohesion.
Why is RE important?
Here are some extracts from the Non-Statutory Guidance 2010 which explain why the government is keen for all pupils to receive high quality religious education:
“The UK has a rich heritage of culture and diversity. This is continuing today in an era of globalisation and an increasingly interdependent world. Religion and belief for many people forms a crucial part of their culture and identity. Religion and beliefs have become more visible in public life locally, nationally and internationally. The impact of religion on society and public life is constantly brought to public attention through extensive media coverage. The rapid pace of development in scientific and medical technologies and the environmental debate continue to present new issues which raise religious, moral and social questions.” (p.6)
“Effective RE can play a key part in promoting inter-faith understanding and dialogue and can address the prejudices brought about by a shallow knowledge of world religions and provides pupils with a safe forum for the discussion of controversial issues.” (p.22)
How is RE Taught?
The basic curriculum is now less prescriptive than previously and allows teachers to use their discretion in terms of how and when RE is incorporated into the curriculum. For example, RE may be taught in short, intensive blocks, weekly, or as part of a more integrated Humanities curriculum. However, despite this freedom, schools remain legally obligated to implement the Locally Agreed Syllabus for RE and must monitor pupil progress in RE. Each Local Authority (LA) in England must establish a permanent body called a Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE). The role of the SACRE is to advise the LA on matters of RE teaching and syllabus, to monitor the provision, quality and effectiveness of RE in the county and to work to improve the quality of teaching and learning in RE. The SACRE must comprise representatives from Christian and other relevant local faiths, the Church of England, teacher associations and the LA. The SACRE must also ensure that the locally agreed syllabus is reviewed every five years by establishing an occasional body called an Agreed Syllabus Conference (ASC) to carry out the review.
What constitutes good practice in RE?
One of the key differences between the recently published Non-Statutory Guidance for RE and its predecessor, is its overwhelming endorsement of faith communities in supporting the delivery of RE. The 2010 guidance highly recommends the forging of links with different faith groups in the school’s local area. It recommends that by involving local faith groups in delivering the RE syllabus:
- pupils get the chance to experience the unfamiliar and to ask questions
- respect and mutual understanding are promoted
- a model of community cohesion in action is provided
- a greater awareness of inter-religious perspectives can occur
- learning is more engaging and relevant.