The RE Teacher’s Media Toolkit is a guide to generating positive local media coverage for religious education. The guide includes ideas for stories; tips for news releases; and for avoiding pitfalls.
RE Teacher’s Media Toolkit Case Study
Christian Pountain, Head of RE at St. Christopher’s C.E. High School, Accrington, tells of the usefulness of the new REC Media toolkit and how it became part of his vision to saturate a major interfaith event in his school with media coverage.
Christian was awarded a NATRE grant of £1500 for a project to allow Muslim and Christian pupils from the town’s four secondary schools, to come face to face across the dialogue table in a new and radical way.
In an area infamous for the race riots of only a few short years ago, and still fraught with racial tensions, Christian was convinced it would be possible to have honest and open dialogue in the schools that would help to dismantle certain barriers of fear and misunderstanding that had evolved.
Inspired by an article by Trevor Cooling in RE Today magazine, Christian felt convinced that inter-faith dialogue need not be negative. He felt that too often interfaith dialogue resulted in compromise and a dilution of key beliefs for those on both sides of the dialogue table and had the potential to cause a great deal of harm.
Thanks to the NATRE funding and a match-funding partner, £3000 was available for use and the project was able to give pupils a day to remember. A high-quality venue was hired, top-level speakers brought in (including Trevor Cooling), local places of Christian and Muslim worship were visited, and a fantastic lunch served.
From inception, the intention was for the event to be a high-profile ‘springboard’ into an ongoing process of dialogue in and between the schools, and the RE Teacher’s Media Toolkit became an invaluable tool to meet this end.
Sample News Release
Christian reports how the ‘sample news release’ with every stage spelt out step by step, was very useful and is convinced that this was the reason the event was given extensive local press coverage.
Tips on conducting a radio interview
The ‘tips on conducting a radio interview’ were also helpful to him and his team when BBC Radio Lancashire arrived unannounced on the day to talk to a selection of staff and pupils, and although the coverage in the Press attracted some negative comments, there were so many more positive responses.
Christian was not too unhappy with the negative responses because they showed that people did not understand what the project was trying to achieve, rather than being due to misrepresentation in the media. For this, Christian has the RE Teachers’ Media Toolkit to thank and would recommend it without reservation to colleagues wishing to publicise an RE event.
The REC is very grateful to Christian for making available his very thoughtful and perceptive feedback on the usefulness of the RE Teacher’s Media Toolkit and to
- Ben Whitaker at Accrington Academy,
- Cath Lutman & Ben Davies at Mount Carmel School
- Mary Wells, Julie Foley & Rebecca Burton St. Augustine’s School, Billington and
- Judith Diggins, & Vicky Kershaw at St. Christopher’s C.E. High School, Accrington
for assisting with the project.