HMI at RE Subject Network

Around 20 Secondary RE teachers were able to attend the recent  RE Subject Network Meeting at Edge Hill.  We are fortunate to welcome Alan Brine, HMI for RE, who talked us through the findings of the latest Ofsted Report into RE RE: Realising The Potential.  This is a key report for RE and comes at a very important time for the subject.

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The School Based Partners were joined by both Undergraduate and Postgraduate RE students who were keen to hear what Alan had to say.  Alan outlined some of the findings of the report including many of the features of poor RE lessons that he has been able to observe.  He dealt with some of the political issues which have not helped the case of RE, but was able to see many positives from the response of the RE community.  He talked enthusiastically about an enquiry based approach to learning in RE and laid to rest suggestions that there is a magic formula for an Ofsted-approved lesson.  Any lesson where pupils make outstanding progress is an outstanding lesson!
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There were plenty questions at the end, many of them around how we a re going to judge progress (in RE and other subjects) if there are no longer nationally prescribed levels.
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Free School Visit

Year 1 students recently visited a very unusual school to stimulate their thoughts about the purpose of education.  The Maharishi Free School in Skelmersdale was formerly an independent school before transferring into the state sector to become a free school.

Maharishi Free School

The school has a very distinctive educational philosophy – developed out of the teachings of the Maharishi Yogi – and centered upon the childrens’ fulfillment.  The headteacher, Derek Cassells spoke about how their educational philosophy enabled children to achieve balance in their lives, which allowed them to then go on and be successful.

BBC at Edge Hill

Two members of the production team from BBC Religion and Ethics, Nick Holden Sim and Charlotte Hindle, recently came and spoke to Undergraduate Secondary RE students at Edge Hill.

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The BBC is making a series of 10 minute films for the Learning Zone for use in KS4 RE classes. The films will follow a group of six modern day pilgrims as they explore the 5 common RE themes of revelation, evil and suffering, life after death, marriage and divorce and human sexuality/sexual relationships through three perspectives –  Christianity, Islam and non religious world views. This enables us to look in depth at the issues in a way that is most relevant to the syllabus and exam criteria.

The six students who will go on a voyage of enquiry on behalf of the audience. The group will be made up of two Christians two Muslims and two non believers who will witness a series of religious events, question the participants,  and afterwards discuss the diversity of opinions held with in the group.  Charlotte and Nic discussed the themes and talked to the students about the work of BBC Religion and Ethics generally.  It might be that some of our students end up taking part in the films.