RE at Edge Hill

Category: Primary

Three Days in the Theatre of Learning

Having spent two days with us last year, an old friend of Edge Hill, Sue Phillips, spent three days with us to showcase her approach to experiential learning: one day with secondary Undergraduates, one day with PGCE and one day with Primary students.

Sue has developed the ‘Theatre of Learning’ pedagogy. This began with an understanding of religion neutral exercises, the most well known being the Island.  Sue then encouraged us to apply that thinking to a number of different religions, including stories as diverse as cosmology and homelessness.  Many of the activities were participatory and the students from all three cohorts were able to engage and relate to the pedagogy in a visceral way.

Feedback from the students was stunning and they are eager to implement some of these ideas on their Professional Placements in the near future.  Photos from Sue’s visit can be seen here.

FA Primary PE Teachers’ Award

We are proud that the KS2/3 Course was able to pilot this brand new Award for PE teachers from the FA.  Over 40 trainees from a variety of subject specialisms were able to become the first Primary teachers in the North-West to complete this award.  The aim of the course is to enable all primary school teachers to be able to successfully deliver the new PE National Curriculum in Primary Schools.  Most of the students had no prior football or coaching experience, outside of the degree programme and school placements.

 “I had the best time! It was brill and learnt lots at the same time! I feel a lot more confident about teaching Primary PE now, especially with differentiating each activity” – Jenny

The course was delivered  by Chris Brammall, FA Regional PE & Coaching in Education Coordinator (North West) and Chris Welburn, FA Regional PE & Coaching in Education Coordinator (North East) and facilitated by Paul Smalley, Senior Lecturer and FA Coach Mentor.

“It was best teaching day for a foundation subject we have had! To be honest I have always felt confident teaching PE, but I learnt so much today and feel even better.” -Jake

We began with an introduction and theoretical background a classroom, where we thought about the various challenges of Primary PE and started to define physical literacy.  We then moved out onto the 4G Astroturf for practical work in two groups.  We were shown a number of warm-up activities, multi-directional and directional games, some of which were specific to football skill deelopment, but many which developed fundamental movement skills and objectives linking to the Natioanl Curriculum’s invasions games.  We could not have wished for a better day and stayed on the astroturf all afternoon until around 4-ish.

“Absolutely loved today so engaging and very tiring, early night for me! Thanks Paul and the 2 Chris’ s very fab I have some great ideas and it definitely made me want to get back into my sports.” – Lauren



Primary students on The Farm

Part time primary trainees have recently been thinking about what education is for.  They made this video as part of their work.  Maggie said,

“I love it and made me realise that they will never be sheep”

What is a Religiously educated person?

Primary RE trainees were asked to consider what characteristics a person who is ‘religiously educated’ would have. Would they be spiritual, practising a religion, respectful of others, have intra-personal intelligence or something else? Trainees worked in groups to create a visual metaphor out of plasticine and presented their ideas to the class.  This type of activity could be used with young children as it helps communicate their thoughts in a more personal and creative way – so much more interesting than worksheets, writing and colouring in don’t you think?! 😉

Tree of knowledge

An open mind


If you go down to the woods today…


As part of the launch of the PGCE Primary programme, the trainees took part in workshops that gave them a taster of creative ways to teach the foundation subjects. A group of 60 students took part in exploring Sacred Spaces by considering the work of Eliade (1987) and Turkle (2011) where objects become evocative or sacred because of the meaning that people attach to them.

In groups they explored Ruff woods and considered how to make it meaningful and then created a sacred/meaningful space which could be used for reflection, worship, ritual or simply silence. Here are some of the spaces

sacred space sacred 2sacred 3sacred 4

Beyond the Worksheet

storytelling buddhism

Part Time primary trainees from Edge Hill recently explored creative learning in the gallery, using the cultures gallery in the World Museum Liverpool. They took part in a Hindu and Buddhist story telling workshop and used the artefacts as a stimulus to create their own interpretations. In groups they re-enacted and the devices that support oral tradition to ‘perform’ their stories on the gallery floor.

Edge Hill discusses primary RE

Edge Hill’s primary RE subject leader, Maggie Webster, takes part in a round table discussion about faith schools in the latest issue of Educate! magazine.  You can read it here: Primary RE


Holi Festival of Colour comes to Edge Hill

MAY 9, 2013


Schoolchildren helped Edge Hill University recreate the Holi Festival of Colour to highlight why it’s important to keep Religious Education on the national curriculum.

For the first time in the north-west, replicating India’s popular springtime religious celebration, students, staff and pupils from Nutgrove Methodist Primary in St Helens took part in throwing bright, vibrant powders at friends and strangers alike as they celebrate the arrival of spring.

The idea behind the event on 10th May was to show how taking risks with learning makes it more meaningful and that RE can generate a more creative environment in the classroom.

It was also used to reiterate why RE should be included in the ever-changing curriculum.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has said RE would remain a statutory requirement at all ages for local authority and direct grant maintained schools, but no programme of study would be prescribed. Parents can also choose to stop their children from attending RE classes.

Maggie Webster, Edge Hill University’s Primary RE Subject Leader organised the Festival of Colour and a lecture about creativity and the Holi in conjunction with student Chris Kirk.

The author of Creative Approaches to Teaching Primary Education explained: “We wanted to recreate our own Festival of Colour as a celebration and to raise the profile of the Foundation subjects, in particular RE as a result of the new national curriculum. In a way, the subject is being side-lined so we are showing that RE fits into all areas of knowledge and creativity. It links into music, dance, culture and life and is a good way to show teachers that risks can be taken in the classroom to make learning more fun.”

On the day, there was a discussion around creative education, the value of RE and the cross-curricular nature of the subject.

“By letting people take part in paint throwing it will give our teachers of the future ideas to demonstrate how pedagogy and theory can be applied in practice within a school setting,” explained Maggie. “Hopefully it will encourage them to develop creative approaches in all curriculum areas.”

The event was also used to raise money for children’s charity NCB.


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