Little Leigh Primary School is a one form entry village school with approximately 156 pupils and a creative ethos of topic-based learning through the arts. RE, however, is predominantly taught by HLTAs during teachers’ PPA, and although it has taught a broad and balanced curriculum, I felt the lessons lacked enthusiasm, excitement and a deeper moral meaning. I wished our children to experience religion in its 3D form, with visits and visitors from a diversity of faiths, to make religion ‘real’ with experiences they could relate to. Visits to Chester and Liverpool Cathedrals were transformational and led to a series of curriculum days, where children worked collaboratively […]
The new GCSE course demands a heightened expertise of religious literacy. With recognition of the controversy regarding the use of this term, my research initially sought to create a range of teaching strategies and learning resources to develop pupils’ religious literacy for the GCSE Islam specification. This included developing resources to support pupils’ use and understanding of key vocabulary, such as knowledge checker activities. However, as my research progressed, I became increasingly aware that being religiously literate meant more than just pupils recalling and using the correct vocabulary. Crucially it involves equipping pupils with the knowledge, understanding and skills to […]
In discussion with Headteachers I have explored the challenges faced in putting their values into practice. The circumstances, the difficulties and the questions arising. These findings are considered in the light of the Church of England’s Vision for Education.
When I became RE lead at my school, I quickly realised that there is very little support for RE teachers in Wirral, particularly in primary schools. As my school is a non-faith school, there was even less support. My school has a different catchment area from many parts of the Wirral with one third of the children being Muslim and 126 children from 14 different backgrounds. From my research and discussions, it has been important to ensure my outcomes were suitable for my pupils. A lot of the ideas out there are ‘old hat’ and focus on sequencing the story […]
Two major recent initiatives in the subject, Understanding Christianity, a teaching and learning approach developed by the Church of England, and The Commission on RE (CoRE), which reported its findings on September 12th, 2018, are shaping current thinking about RE. Both call for a renewed focus on depth of understanding and academic rigour, in short, ‘serious engagement’, as Understanding Christianity puts it, with the subject matter. In recent years, rigorous and academically stretching RE has often been associated with the critical realist approach, which treats RE as a quest for ‘ultimate truth’, competing claimants in a debate in the ultimate […]
This piece of research considers what the next steps are for a community coming to terms with being defined as a disciplinary subject, and perhaps most importantly, how we discuss this professionally. It is a response to the growing number of groups calling for the subject to be considered in disciplinary terms, with a recognition of the potential multidisciplinary nature of the subject. In this piece, I consider how the nature of the subject, students, and teachers are affected by this shift in subject definition. I then consider how other humanities subjects such as History and Geography have engaged with […]
Within our culture, three waves crash together upon our young people: a premature media self-awareness, peer-measurement, and self-promotion, external and internal higher expectations of themselves, and a huge need for healthy mental health to have the resilience to thrive, not just survive. These young people need those they can trust, whether it be a parent, a leader, a peer who has the confidence to help them, and the faith in them to transform lives to journey beyond culture’s dictates, towards self-efficacy. VIVA GO! is a powerful tool to raise a young person’s life chances through listening, relationship and supported encouragement. […]
“When you drop a pebble into a pond, ripples spread out, changing all the water in the pool. The ripples hit the shore and rebound, bumping into one another, breaking each other apart. In some small way, the pond is never the same again.” ( Neal Shusterman) When I took on the hub leader role for Learn, Teach Lead RE Wirral group (LTLRE) I had no idea of the effect it would have on me or on the colleagues I worked with. I am in the privileged position of being the RE subject leader in a church school where CPD […]
The intention of this work is to complement the requirements of the Understanding Christianity resource produced for Church of England schools by the Church of England and RE Today in 2016. (RE Today Services works nationally and internationally to support Religious Education in schools.) The driver for the research arose from speaking with many primary school teachers when they visited the Education Department at Chester Cathedral. They spoke about this new schools’ resource, saying that they found it difficult and challenging because they did not really have a personal grasp of core Christian concepts themselves. They therefore felt ill-equipped to […]
I work in a Church of England Academy, Liverpool primary school. My research within the school showed that Sikhism was the least understood religion, with many children being unable to distinguish between Sikhs and Muslims, despite Liverpool’s rich Sikh history and the existence of a Gurdwara only 20 minutes away from the school. I researched the key aspects of Sikhism and met with practicing Sikhs and RE coordinators within the city to develop an understanding of the key beliefs and practices within Sikhism, then produced learning resources with which to teach Sikhism to primary school pupils.