The aims of REsilience are to:

  • increase confidence in addressing contentious issues, particularly those sometimes linked with violent extremism
  • provide continuous professional development opportunities for all teachers of RE
  • encourage reflective practice

Belief-based extremism raises contentious and highly sensitive issues and is a topical area of public interest. Most young people are aware that throughout history some extremists have used belief-based arguments to justify violence against people with whom they disagree. Whether young people are equally well-informed about the motivation for such attacks, or about the attitude of mainstream believers, is less certain.

Reasons for lack of confidence in tackling contentious issues in RE lessons vary from teacher to teacher, and circumstances vary from school to school. The issues arising from religious and other belief-based extremism require specific teaching and learning methods. REsilience aims to help teachers foster debate, dialogue and the development of respect and understanding.

In RE, young people explore the faiths, beliefs and values of our communities; but raising or responding to questions about extremism poses challenges for even the most experienced teachers. An important aspect of this subject is the dispelling of ignorance and misconceptions that create suspicion and barriers between communities. Hence the need for REsilience.


A portfolio of resources has been produced including

  • Lesson ideas
  • Reviews and Gateways specially developed for use by teachers to boost their own knowledge and confidence. The Gateways give quick pointers and information to teachers who have little time to spare. They all include ‘signposts’ to further information and other resources (including classroom resources in some cases) for teachers who want to pursue the topic further.
  • Self-evaluation and action planning tools

These resources relate to REsilience in English schools. For further information, please contact us

Each Gateway document responds to key questions:

  • Why is this a contentious topic?
  • Why is RE relevant to this topic?
  • What classroom challenges might arise in RE?
  • How can teachers address such challenges?