Local Group News Board

Claire Clinton, Newham RE Advisor, led a NATRE local group meeting in February, hosted by Elmhurst Primary School in their training rooms. There were 36 primary school teachers in attendance for a three-hour meeting. Many topics were covered during those three hours with different people contributing a number of workshops.

To start the meeting off, each table had a set of quiz questions on religious festivals to answer, this enabled new attendees to start talking to each other. The meeting then proceeded with a table top activity – ‘Respect-o-meter’. Claire gave each table a few school based scenario’s and as a table people had to decide what level of respect is being shown or not shown in the situation.

“It was a great discussion starter on our table, and I will share it back at school as I think it gives a really good starter activity when trying to teach respect.” Miss Lennon, Park Primary School

Claire then went on to discuss national updates with the group including RE and Ofsted inspections, Spirited Arts and Poetry competition, a new website offering schools some great visual commentaries on scripture and information on Farmington Scholarships.

Ruth Wilkinson, project manager came to present the ‘All of Us campaign’ A new ground-breaking campaign aiming to tackle the global rise in cultural and religious intolerance. Find out more on the All of Us campaign website.

Following this there was a session on local courses and CPD opportunities for schools, along with the RE Matters annual place of worship competition. There was also a discussion on the annual report for RE, specifically focusing on Newham which has some great RE statistics; 99.98% of pupils are in Newham RE lessons, and 99.99% of pupils are in acts of collective worship.

A session on Mindfulness was held by Lucy Still, who has won a Farmington Fellowship. Lucy was helping the group to understand the value of mindfulness, helping train your attention to be more aware of what is actually happening, rather than worrying about what has happened or might happen.

Newham is looking to revise their RE syllabus next year and Claire introduced the teachers to an approach created by Exeter University called ‘the RE-searchers approach’. It encourages pupils to think about the significance and effectiveness of different methodologies and methods of enquiry in RE and to make it accessible for primary they have personified characters. The characters are called ‘Debate-it-all Derek’, ‘Ask-it-all Ava’, ‘Have-a-go Hugo’, and ‘See-the-story Suzie’, but collectively they’re known as the ‘RE-searchers’. Each character holds different assumptions about religions and advocates different research methods (e.g. questioning and arguing, interviewing and empathising, participating and experiencing, and narrating and exploring interpretations.) Visit the RE:Online website to access: http://www.reonline.org.uk/re-searchers/.

“I have loved finding out about this approach. It has made me think more about pedagogical approaches in RE.” Miss Hardie, Brampton Primary School

Next meeting: 5 June 2019

Focus: Marina Rob will be leading a master class on teaching about Orthodox Christianity and Lucy Still will be returning to do some more activities around Mindfulness.

Ideas for your local group meeting:

  • Play a game or do an activity to break the ice!
  • Discuss national updates and CPD opportunities with your local group.
  • Invite speakers to talk about new approaches and campaigns going on in the RE world.

Newham Primary Network