Guidance on selecting resources

For teachers of RE, Citizenship, PSHE and other subjects

Teachers  – are you sure that when you choose resources dealing with religion, they…

  • are factually correct?
  • are sensitive and will not cause offence to students and their families?  
  • convey a fair and balanced view of religious traditions?
  • carry an authentic voice?

We do not underestimate the difficulties of teaching about religion.  The subject matter is complex, dynamic and sensitive, far from easy to convey in the concise and straightforward terms offered by some resources and required for some lessons.

The RE Council therefore offers the following guidance in order to:

  • support teachers in providing well resourced, good quality Religious Education.
  • facilitate the accurate presentation of beliefs and practices across the curriculum, in subjects such as Citizenship, Sociology, PSHE, Geography, and History.
  • help teachers navigate the complexities of the subject and avoid misrepresentation and offence.
  • foster better understanding of religious beliefs and practices.
  • enable adequate research and fact-checking.
  • encourage critical evaluation of published resources.

Looking for accuracy, sensitivity, balance and authenticity

Accuracy
It is possible (and often necessary, particularly for younger and less able pupils) to summarise beliefs and practices clearly. However, care needs to be taken that resources do not contain over-simplifications or omissions that can lead to distortion. Religious traditions are rarely homogeneous, and they develop and change; the best resources will recognise this. 

Sources 

  • Look for indications that expert advisers, including academics, faith organisations and faith representatives, have been consulted at all key production stages;
  • Check whether resources draw on primary sources, which contribute to accurate representation of religious traditions and may foster pupils' interpretive skills. 
  • Check that provenance and context of quotations, e g from individuals, sacred texts and other documents, is given. 
  • Ensure that publishers and their sources respect the educational purpose of the resource (for example, that they are not trying to convert pupils).