Case Study 1: Commission on RE
Culham St Gabriel’s is delighted to be a key supporter of the Commission on RE https://www.commissiononre.org.uk/final-report-religion-and-worldviews-the-way-forward-a-national-plan-for-re/ whose work we helped to fund in 2016-18. The Commission on RE was created in 2016 by the RE Council with a remit to review the legal, educational and policy frameworks for RE. Chaired by the Very Revd Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster and a former Chief Education Officer of the Church of England, the fourteen commissioners have worked for two years to generate proposals based on research and reflection.
Titled ‘Religion and Worldviews: the way forward, a national plan for RE’, the report addresses RE in England with evidence, reasoned interpretation and proposals of historic significance. Its three defining principles are particularly welcomed:
- A new vision for the subject, reflecting changes in patterns of belief in England since 1944, and made concrete in the new name – Religion & Worldviews.
- An entitlement to high quality teaching and learning in all schools, underpinned by a statutory national entitlement statement. Within that, schools would have flexibility to meet the entitlement in their own ways, guided by their ethos and trust deed.
- A significant investment in two supports: training for teachers to implement the new vision, and a reformed structure at local authority level.
Trustees see the report as a vitally important and urgent call to change, and we wish to work with partners to make the change happen.
Case Study 2: National and regional infrastructure
CSTG is also very pleased to be a supporter of the national and regional structure of ambassadors for RE, coordinated by the National Association of Teachers of RE (www.natre.org.uk). Like many, we have been concerned that the increasing weakness of local authority structures has created a vacuum of support for too many teachers of RE. By supporting this dynamic intervention we intend to ensure that high-quality continuing professional development reaches every primary and secondary RE person in England. The measures include:
- The appointment of one national RE networks ambassador and ten regional RE network ambassadors, working closely with existing NATRE, LTLRE and other networks, and creating new ones
- Financial support for one regional day conference per region per year
- Training opportunities for leaders of groups and networks
- ‘Primary 1000’, a new initiative to reach primary schools that have not yet benefitted from national RE opportunities
- Specialist communications and data expertise
We are also very pleased that the project will include a conference and support for primary RE initial teacher education, reflecting the Commission on RE recommendation on a minimum of 12 hours’ RE training for primary trainees.
The success of both these projects depends on a large and generous vision of change in RE, as well as close collaboration between RE organisations. We see ourselves as change agents working for and with the RE community towards a better future for the subject.
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