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REforREal Report: The Future of Teaching and Learning about Religion and Belief

The RE for REal project, led by Adam Dinham and Martha Shaw, has released a report: The Future of Teaching and Learning about Religion and Belief (read the full report here: http://www.gold.ac.uk/media/goldsmiths/169-images/departments/research-units/faiths-unit/REforREal-web-b.pdf).

The report makes 10 key recommendations.  Culham St Gabriel’s welcomes these and encourages the RE world to fully engage with them and the wider findings of the report in discussions about the future of RE.

The recommendations are:

  1. A statutory National Framework for Religion and Belief Learning should be developed, and be applicable to all schools, balancing shared national approaches with school level determination.
  2. Since SACREs currently play a leading part in religion and belief learning, there is an urgent need for review of their role, and the role of others, such as professional bodies and experts, in the forming of learning. This should inform and result in the appointment of a national panel to develop the framework.
  3. The National Framework panel should be mandated to consider and make recommendations about the purpose, content and structures of teaching and learning, and about the relationship between learning inside RE, outside in other subjects, and in the wider life of schools, especially in relation to the Act of Worship requirement, and to the right to withdraw.
  1. Religion and belief learning should be a compulsory part of the curriculum to age 16, and consideration should be given to what, if anything, happens in post-16 learning.
  2. Content should reflect the real religious landscape, as revealed by cutting edge theory and data in the study of contemporary religion and belief.
  3. The process of producing a National Framework for Religion and Belief Learning should determine the mix, content and location of religion and belief learning specific to RE, and that which takes place in a distributed way in learning outside of RE.
  4. GCSE Religious Studies should remain as an optional subject for schools, and consideration should be given to reframing its content to demarcate the boundary between academic study of the real religious landscape, and other religion and belief learning associated with personal, spiritual and social learning.
  5. There should be continued investment in Initial Teacher Training for subject specialist RE teachers.
  6. There should be increased investment in continuing professional development for non-specialist teachers of religion and belief.
  7. The process of producing a National Framework should include a review and decision on the name or names of religion and belief learning in schools.

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