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Religion and Worldviews in Religious Education

In 2016 the REC set up the independent Commission on RE (CoRE). CoRE produced its Final Report in September 2018 with a separately available Executive Summary.

CoRE made eleven recommendations. One of these argued for a new approach to RE based on the notion of worldviews. Another argued for a National Statement of Entitlement in RE for all pupils in state-maintained schools that ensured all experienced a basic education the relationship between religion and worldviews.

These recommendations represent a paradigm change in how RE is taught. Understandably, they stimulated a lot of debate, in particular as to exactly what the new approach entailed.

Thanks to generous donations from the Templeton World Charity Foundation (TWCF), and the Culham St Gabriels Trust (CSGT), the REC was able to run a project to develop and communicate a shared understanding of what this new approach might look like.

The resources produced are all freely available to REC members, having been produced through a process that involved them fully. They are:

  • Literature Review: One aspect of the debate was around exactly how the relationship between religion and worldviews had been understood in the academic literature. Three members of Theology and Religious Studies UK published a 10,000-word review of that literature – an invaluable tool for researchers and teachers.
  • Academic Conversations: Thirteen well-known figures in the academic conversation about religion and worldviews engaged with this literature review through five Zoom consultations under the leadership of Amira Tharani from the National Council for Voluntary Organisation. They represented a range of disciplines and opinions, and the conversations were lively.
  • Discussion Papers: Amira Tharani produced four brilliant discussion papers for teachers and others. These give wider access to the insights that emerged from the academic conversations. They are ideal for use in CPD and ITE or in community discussions.
  • Video Animations: Jason Ramasami, well known animator and former RE teacher produced a powerful animation that captured the key characteristics of how this new approach represents religions in the classroom. Although not produced by the REC, many have found the video animation Nobody Stands Nowhere to be a powerful introduction to the notion of personal worldview. These videos make excellent stimuli for CPD and ITE sessions.
  • Bibliography: Well-known RE teacher Dawn Cox, developed a comprehensive bibliography of the major articles, blogs and other material that have been published in response to the  CoRE Report. A superb resource for researchers, teachers and students.
  • Frequently Asked Questions: In order to capture the emerging understanding of the religion and worldviews approach, some REC Board members have worked together to provide an FAQs page.
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