Almost a dozen Mentors, Lecturers and consultants were able to attend the RE Subject Network’s recent twilight session held at Byrchall High School.
We were privileged to have the input of Emma Mcvittie who explained how her ME! resource was helping pupils develop spiritual literacy in both primary and secondary settings nationwide. This was followed by a general discussion of good practice from around the partnership led by Gill Robinson of Rose Bridge High School.
Waqaus Ali spoke to us about the work of ThinkBrite Services who can lead Inset for staff, provide visitors to schools or create a tailored day visiting a local Mosque. Edge Hill Students have benefited from Waqaus’ expertise for many years.
Gill concluded the evening with some national updates, around many issues including the RE Council’s consultation report on the proposed New National RE Framework. It was a while before people left, though, as people spent time with our visitors exploring the possibility of doing further work together.
PGCE trainees enjoyed high quality behaviour management training courtesy of our colleagues at Stretford High school. As always, we received a very warm welcome from our Stretford colleagues, including Faisal Ahmed and Mez Munshi, recent highly successful PGCE alumni. Stretford’s lead behaviour and attendance professional, Leila, took us through Stretford’s highly successful behaviour policy which underlined just how effective a systematic whole school approach is. Consistency, good use of praise and rewards and careful, proactive monitoring of attendance all emerged as the key ingredients to ensuring behavior for learning. We also gained valuable insights into the use of the school’s staged consequences and restorative justice.
The stars of the session were the three year 11 pupils who joined us to give their perspective on class management. The pupils told us that they valued a fair and consistent approach. We learnt that they knew when a teacher was making the effort with them and shouting wasn’t effective, quite the opposite and likely to back-fire! It was interesting to hear that the pupils expected teachers not to hold grudges- all wise advice from the people who count the most, the learners.
We finished with some helpful advice from Faisal, who is leading on aspects of the school’s pastoral review, developing the role of the form captain. Once again we came away from Stretford High inspired with the knowledge that good systems work and have impact on pupil achievement.
Year 2 trainees enjoyed an enlightening visit to the beautiful Triratna Buddhist centre (22.11.12) gaining the insider’s perspective on what it really means to live as a Buddhist in 2012. Our speaker, Munisha,(Clear Vision) offered us a very warm welcome and a much appreciated brew, before telling us the story of the Manchester Buddhist centre. We then experienced the peace of the main shrine room, which demonstrated how calm surroundings produce more peaceful states of mind. After a fascinating Q/A session we were left with a deeper understanding of key Buddhist values, especially right livelihood and the importance of spiritual friendship. As always Munisha made the perfect host, thoughtful,open and generous in her responses to trainee questions. Everyone said how much they enjoyed the session and we only wished we’d had more time for more questions! I’m sure that the visit will result in future RE school trips when our year 2 trainees become RE teachers.
I thoroughly enjoyed the visit and am already looking forward to the PGCE visit in December. After enjoying such good company this morning, it seems appropriate to finish with some words of the Buddha:
“The company of the wise is joyful, like reunion with one’s family.Therefore, live among the wise, who are understanding, patient, responsible, and noble. Keep their company like the moon moving among the stars” [Dhammapada, 15: 207-208]
Following on from the success of our Subject Network Launch last summer, we are holding our first school based RE network meeting on Wednesday 14th November at 4.15 pm at Byrchall High School, Wigan. Many thanks to Mark Scott, Head of RE at Byrchall High, who has kindly obtained use of the school’s CPD centre for us.
The Edge Hill RE Subject Network is open to all secondary RE teachers, whether they be Mentors from the partnership, former students or local RE teachers who may want to join us. The aim is to create a friendly, informal and supportive network for professional up-dating and exchange of good practice. A schedule is attached.
We look forward to seeing you. Please let either Francis or Paul know by e-mail if you intend to join us.
The RE PGCE group enjoyed a fantastic tour of Liverpool’s impressive Anglican Cathedral, courtesy of the Cathedral’s specialist education team. The tour was led by Helen Roberts, a former Head of Music, so the ideal tour guide with a great understanding of the needs of new teachers. As in previous visits Helen provided a very detailed and interesting overview of the Cathedral’s fascinating history and its special role in the local community.
We explored the religious symbolism of the Cathedral, but most importantly the outreach work in the local community, ecumenical links with the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian communities of Merseyside. We also learnt about the work of the Archbishop and his commitment to social justice in the recent Hillsborough enquiry. Trainees went away better equipped to teach Christianity with that all important understanding of its role in the lives of the local community.
The sun shone brightly on the stars of the BA(Hons) Key Stage 2/3 Religious Education degree course as they were awarded their degrees and celebrated their achievements. As the self proclaimed ‘Best RE class ever!’ the 14 graduands were awarded their degree by the Chancellor, Professor Tanya Byrom, describing Edge Hill graduates as “not only ‘Outstanding’, but ‘Exceptional’!”
This indeed was our best year yet for Undergraduate RE students, with a third of graduates achieving a First class degree – and another half getting a II:i classification. One student, Chris Lawson, received a special award for the highest mark in the Faculty for a dissertation. His study of primary to secondary transition in Catholic RE departments is likely to be published soon. Almost two-thirds of the group were judged to be ‘Outstanding’ in their final teaching practice and most have already secured employment for the next academic term – in primary and secondary settings.
PGCE students from Edge Hill Celebrated their achievements with their Graduation Ceremony. This year’s PGCE results were fantastic with everyone being rated at least ‘Good’ on their teaching practice and 94% ‘Outstanding’ Around three-quarters of the group already have Masters-level credits which they can take forward to their MA or MEd studies.
It was made an even more special occasion by two doctoral appearances – Mayer, a holocaust survivor who has been speaking to Edge Hill RE trainees since the first years of the course was awarded an honorary Doctorate. It was also the first outing for Dr. Farrell’s Tudor Bonnet!!
As part of their third year undergraduate module on Islam, students visited Preston to hear first hand what life was like for a Muslim in the UK in the 21st century. In the morning the trainees visited Fulwood Academy where they were able to interview a number of young Muslim students. They found the youngsters to have widely varying ideas of what it meant to be a Muslim, from the very observant to those who seemed ready to challenge.
After a quick lunch we visited the Medina Mosque in the afternoon. As well as a tour of the facilities and the opportunity to observe the zuhr congregational prayers students were given a very thorough presentation of Islam as a deen by Waqaus Ali of Thinkbrite Services. Waqaus talked of how faith could be thought of as having three levels: Islam, Iman and Ishan. He also spoke about historical and contemporary issues surrounding Islam.
“it has brought the religion of Islam out of the textbook and into real life and society that we can now transfer into the classroom”
Here are a selection of photographs taken during the fieldtrip: