Humanists UK was founded in 1896 and is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes wider public understanding of Humanism: an ethical and fulfilling non-religious approach to life involving a naturalistic view of the universe. It also supports and represents the non-religious including through the provision of community services, and promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.
Contributions to RE
Humanists UK works to support RE via
- the provision of training and materials and
- policy development.
Humanists UK provides:
- materials and advice to parents, governors, students, teachers and academics;
- classroom resources through Understanding Humanism;
- training to trainee RE teachers at a number of initial teacher training providers across England;
- CPD for RE teachers;
- and free humanist speakers for schools and colleges.
In practice, our work in RE focuses on ensuring non-religious perspectives are included (e.g. atheism taught about clearly when beliefs about God are being taught, and humanism taught about as a non-religious approach to life).
Humanists UK’s policy work on RE consists of highlighting how the usual contemporary justifications for the subject of Religious Education in the school curriculum – its contribution to social cohesion and mutual understanding, its presentation of a range of answers to questions of meaning and purpose, and its role in the search for personal identity and values – can best be served by including humanist perspectives and non-religious young people, especially given that these young people constitute a majority. It also focuses on advocating that RE in state schools not be confessional but consist of a balanced and objective syllabus. Humanists UK supports and maintains the network of humanist representatives on SACREs, conducts and commissions research and policy formulation work, and represents informed positions to government and other public audiences.