Awesome and Intimate- PGCE trainees visit the Great Space

RE PGCE trainees were over awed by the magnificent splendour of Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral during a visit on Friday 20th September. Once again we were hosted by our superb tour guide Helen, a former secondary school teacher and a fount of knowledge. Helen explored the deep symbolism and religious significance of the Cathedral and its history.

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We started our tour at the West door with its wonderful Tracey Emin art, “I felt you and I knew that you loved me”, a statement that could be interpreted as an expression of the Christian message. Helen explained the role of the Cathedral within the diocese, its outreach work into the community and the vision of Giles Gilbert Scott who designed the Great Space. The beauty of the nave and the main well contrasted with the intimacy of the quiet spiritual spaces of the Holy Spirit Chapel and the Lady Chapel.
We concluded our tour at the High Altar and the East Window, a fitting place to end our exploration with the empty cross and the symbolising the resurrection as testament to the Christian message.

I have little doubt that everyone was impressed and that there will be repeat bookings as a result. Within the RE team we aim to give our trainees a network of contacts within the faith communities so they can use these experiences to deepen their learners understanding of the real presence of people of faith within our communities.

Thanks to Rob Duffy for his excellent pictures!

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Inspirational Induction at Stretford High School

Starting PGCE is always going to be a challenge so positive messages and an inspirational induction in a successful secondary school set the right tone for the rest of the training year. This is the third year running in which PGCE trainees have had the professional boost of an induction day at Stretford High school, one of our most successful and dynamic partnership schools. The day was led by outstanding Stretford colleagues who made a real impact through their key messages about professionalism, the rewards of teaching and the commitment required to make a difference to young peoples’ lives.

Professional mentor Linda Smith started the day with a review of the DFE standards and some valuable reminders about the boundaries between the professional and the personal. Trainees enjoyed a characteristically charismatic presentation by Head Teacher, James Haseldine who shared his career journey and his powerful and motivational vision for inclusive, challenging education for all. Trainees got a real insight into the impact of effective management and leadership underpinned by commitment to ensuring the best opportunities are made available to learners- Mr Haseldine’s presentation will be a powerful motivator for trainees throughout this year.

Mez Munshi, RE PGCE alumni, and outstanding PGCE graduate shared her perspective on the challenges of the PGCE, leaving trainees reassured and confident that they can do it! Lastly we had a tour of the school by a group of wonderful year 11 pupils. We were suitably charmed and impressed by their friendliness and their obvious love of their school. We can’t wait to come back for more training from Stretford colleagues, welcoming Stretford KS4 pupils to our Holocaust study event- all examples of best partnership practice!

Special thanks go to Mr Faisal Ahmed, Director of Humanities, for organising this inspirational event for us.
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Back with a Boost

Term has started early at Edge Hill, with our annual Subject Knowledge Booster Course. This course was originally funded by the TDA to help those with non-Theology or Religious Studies degrees enter RE PGCE courses.  We at Edge Hill found these courses to be so useful that we have continued them after the central funding has stopped – so that Edge Hill PGCE students can have an advantage at the start of their course.  These free courses have proved so popular that even graduates with Theology degrees now attend and find them hugely beneficial. This year was another first as two students who will be joining our Undergraduate Secondary RE course via our fast-track route have taken the course to improve their subject qualifications.

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This nine day course is jam-packed with a day focusing on each religion, beginning with a lead session in the morning led by academics from Edge Hill or other institutions such as Paul Walsh from Newman University College and Professor David Waines of Lancaster. The afternoons entail a period of paired research and a final plenary session.  The highlight of the course is a field trip to Preston where students visit a Hindu Mandir and a Buddhist Centre in the morning and in the afternoon a Mosque and Muslim High School.  The final assessment is a portfolio of research notes and a paired presentation on one of the six major world faiths.

We’re glad to say that everyone found the course fantastic fun, as well as a great way to Boost their subject Knowledge before starting their QTS courses!

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