Young Ambassadors for RE made a big impression when they spoke to MPs on Monday 24th June 2013. The focus of this APPG meeting was to celebrate the best of what RE has to offer. It showcased the activities of five secondary teams of young people who had been acting as champions for the subject across their own schools and beyond and two primary schools which had received the RE Quality Mark Gold Award.
Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon, Chair of the APPG on RE, introduced the event. He spoke about the role of religious education in helping young people develop a well informed understanding of religions and issues of religion and belief in a world where so much nonsense was available about these topics on the internet. Ignorance about religions could lead to stereotyping and prejudice but religious education lessons provided a safe space for children and young people to discuss these questions and develop discernment. He said that the main purpose of the meeting was to highlight success, both in the work of the Young Ambassadors and in the achievement of schools which had been awarded the RE Quality Mark.
Stephen Lloyd also drew attention to the Early Day Motion he had launched in support of religious education. He said the APPG had a large and active membership and looked forward to building on its current work in the coming year.
Helen Harrison, Deputy Chair of the RE Council, introduced students from Broughton Business and Enterprise College, Redhill Academy, Francis Holland School, Perins School and Venerable Bede CE Academy, who gave presentations in which they talked about why RE was relevant to their lives as young people growing up in a society of many religions and world views. They talked about how valuable RE lessons were in helping them to learn about the perspectives and values of other people as well as giving them a focus for exploring their own beliefs about life’s big questions.
Primary school pupils from Lower Peover CE School and St Laurence’s Catholic School spoke about their RE lessons and why they were enjoyable and important to them.
After the presentations, the children and young people had a chance to meet and talk with MPs.