In the REC’s first RE digest of 2018, we have gathered recent news stories with a relevance to religious education from across the web and published the links below.

State of the Nation report and RE provision

The REC and NATRE’s State of the Nation report on RE provision at secondary schools across England garnered significant media coverage and responses, including from RE teacher Tim Burdon, who in his article for i News put forward some strong arguments as to why RE must not be allowed to disappear from the curriculum. Hannah Malcolm, in her article for Theos Think Tank ‘Build Bridges, Not Walls: Challenging our Classrooms’ Hidden Curricula’, discusses the importance of delivering good religious education and its knock-on effect on other aspects of the curriculum.

The value of Learning Outside the Classroom in RE

There has been concern in the RE world and in the media that some parents are refusing to allow their children to visit Mosques as part of their religious education. At the RE Council, we believe that in RE, Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) experiences are a valuable part of a young person’s education, and provide opportunities for engagement with faith communities; spiritual, social, moral and cultural development; visits to places of worship and other spaces, both religious and non-religious; and allow young people to ask big questions and reflect.

Remembering Solly Irving

We also sadly note the passing of Solly Irving at the age of 87, a Holocaust Survivor who made it his life’s mission to ensure each generation never allowed such horrors to return. Mr Irving lost his parents and all four sisters in Nazi death camps and was the only Jewish survivor of his home village in Poland. He visited schools and colleges across Plymouth where he spoke of his experiences. He once stated: ‘RE is so important today because it enables young people to understand the world. It is imperative that how they choose to live is informed by the history of the world and the wisdom of our elders.’

RE matters

There is therefore strong agreement that religious education as a curriculum subject continues to matter more than ever in Britain today.

RE related news from across the web

BBC News Schools break law on religious education, research suggests (17 September 2017)

The Telegraph Learning about religion is crucial to a balanced education (18 September 2017)

i News As a Religious Education teacher, here’s why the subject must not disappear (18 September 2017)

BBC News Tributes to Holocaust survivor Solly Irving (14 October 2017)

The Lowestoft Journal School’s Buddhism event is hailed a success (18 October 2017)

Church Times Of Gods and Men (3 November 2017)

The Sentinel Are parents right to stop their children visiting mosques on school trips? Here’s what you think (13 November 2017)

The Times Staffordshire schools told to offer virtual tours of mosques after parents ban children from visits (14 November 2017)

Schools Week iGCSE loophole allows schools to teach one religion (3 December 2017)

Bury Free Press REQM Gold School praised as ‘good’ by Ofsted is ‘like one big family’ (17 December 2017)

Theos Think Tank Build Bridges, Not Walls: Challenging our Classrooms’ Hidden Curricula (3 January 2018)

Humanists UK Humanist students overwhelmingly want non-religious pastoral support on campus (3 January 2018)

Catholic Herald Despite what some adults say, young people love religious ritual (5 January 2018)

The Guardian Why Europe’s wars of religion put 40,000 ‘witches’ to a terrible death (7 January 2018)

University of Gloucestershire Philosophy and Religion video interviews

Tom Bennett’s School Report It’s still a wonderful job – because teaching saved me

Culham St Gabriel’s 3forRE Masters funding

Have you found an interesting story relating to religious education? Please email the link to including ‘RE digest’ in the email subject.