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News from the World of RE

From RE Today (www.retoday.org.uk)


21/08/2014
Urgent action needed to curb GCSE Religious Studies decline

The key outcomes of the 2014 GCSE results in England and Wales for Religious Education are as follows:

* 387,915 RS GCSE entries (combined short and full course) were recorded; a decrease of 8% from         2013 (420,151 entries)       * Full course entries increased by 7% from 251,063 in 2013 to 269,494 in 2014

* Short course entries fell dramatically by 30% from 169,088 in 2013 to 118,421 in 2014

When RS GCSE entries in England over the past three years are compared to those in Wales (where the EBacc and the average point score at GCSE have not been adopted as school performance measures), the following patterns emerge:

England * Take up of the GCSE RS short course has fallen from 211,269 in 2012 to 99,601 in 2014 (-53%)

* GCSE RS full course entries in England have increased from 216,182 in 2012 to 258,067 in 2014   (19%)

Wales * Short course GCSE RS entries have remained stable over the past three years (19,182 in 2012   compared with 18,820 in 2014)

* RS GCSE full course entries have increased from 10,409 in 2012 to 11,427 in 2014 (10%)

Overall this means that compared with 2012 nearly 70,000 fewer 16 year olds in England will complete key stage 4 this year having not gaining a qualification in Religious Studies (a drop of 15%).

This echoes research by the National Association of Teachers of RE (published in November 2013) that found that a third of community schools and over a third of academies without a religious character are still failing to meet their legal or contractual agreements to provide religious education for this key age group.         Comment from Ed Pawson, Chair, National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE):

“While it's encouraging to see a continued increase in the number of students taking the full course GCSE in RS, the overall decline in the number of entries is a major concern. The Government has continually hidden behind the statutory nature of RE, claiming that it provides sufficient protection for the subject, but it's clearly not working. You only have to look at the stark contrast between England and Wales, where overall entries continue to rise, to see the damaging impact of Government policy over the past few years. Now is the time to reinstate checks to ensure schools are meeting their legal or contractual obligations to teach RE." Comment from John Keast, Chair, Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC):

“I'd like to congratulate those schools that have increased the number of students entering for the GCSE full course, despite the negative pressure of the EBacc and average point score performance measurement systems. These figures support our research which has found RE to be a popular and academically rigorous subject among young people. More alarming though is the overall decline in students receiving a solid grounding in RE due to the dramatic fall in short course entries in recent years. The danger is that, as our society becomes increasingly multicultural and religious division continues to dominate the news agenda, we create a section of society that lacks the understanding of diverse faiths and beliefs that is essential to growing up in twenty-first century Britain."

Download the full press release.

-ends- For media enquiries please contact:

Colin Hallmark, 3:nine Communications: Tel: 0207 736 1888; 07745 914170; email: info@3nine.co.uk

Notes for Editors

Data Sources: Ofqual

National Association of Teachers of RE NATRE is the subject teacher association for RE professionals in primary and secondary schools and higher education, providing a representative voice at national level and publications and courses to promote professional development. NATRE's Executive consists of a majority of serving teachers from primary and secondary schools who are elected for a three-year term of service.

Religious Education Council of England and Wales

Established in 1973, the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) brings together over 60 national organisations. These comprise academic and professional associations specialising in religions and religious education, as well as individual religions and belief organisations inclusive of the range of faith communities found nationally, including the British Humanist Association. 

ReThinkRE Campaign website: www.rethinkre.org


14/08/2014
Religious Studies A level entries prove subject 'is great preparation for university'

The key outcomes of the 2014 A level results in England for Religious Education are as follows:

20,196 RS A level entries were recorded; nearly double (96%) the number in 2002/03 (10,313 entries were recorded in 2002/03) RS A level entries increased more than any arts, humanity or social science subject this year (up 5.3% on 2012/13) RS A level entries have increased more than any arts, humanity or social science subject over the past 10 years (the nearest is Economics with an increase of 57%) In line with other subjects the results are generally lower, but the percentage of students achieving A* at RS A level has increased from 5.4% to 6.8%

The contextual evidence highlights the status of RS as a subject for Higher Education entry:

The Russell Group of top universities has made it clear that RS A level provides 'suitable preparation for University generally' Both Oxford and Cambridge University include Religious Studies in the top level list of 'generally suitable Arts A levels' Applicants with Religious Studies A level were more likely to gain admission to study History at Oxford University in 2012 than those with A levels in many 'facilitating' subjects 20% of students admitted to Oxford University to study mathematics in 2011 had an RS A level (more than those with Economics, Physics and Business Studies A levels) Research from the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University on the comparative difficulty of different subjects at A level showed that RS was 'in the middle difficulty range, similar to Geography and more demanding than English'.

Comment from Ed Pawson, Chair, National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE)

“These results are extremely encouraging. They show that schools and students value Religious Education as a key subject that provides great preparation for Higher Education.

A level RS is certainly not an easy option. As the research from Durham University proves, it is more challenging than some of the so-called 'facilitating' subjects, and universities are recognising this fact.

I am delighted to see that so many students, parents and teachers are seeing through the politically-motivated rhetoric, which - in an attempt to favour EBacc subjects - has distorted the true message of the Russell Group's 'Informed Choices' advice."

Comment from John Keast, Chair, Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC): “RS A level provides an excellent foundation for a range of careers - from medicine to public service to business. Imagine how better prepared a doctor or business professional is if they understand the culture and customs of the individuals they are treating or dealing with. Or how a broad and deep knowledge of different world faiths and beliefs can help young people truly understand the context of events in the Middle East.

As our world becomes increasingly interdependent and we interact with more diverse groups day to day, RE is becoming ever more relevant. It is a shame that while students, universities and employers clearly recognise this fact, the number of teachers being trained to teach RE is falling. Let's hope that the new Secretary of State addresses this as a matter of urgency."

Click here to download the full press release.—-

For media enquiries please contact:

Colin Hallmark, 3:nine Communications: Tel: 0207 736 1888; 07745 914170;

            Notes: GCE A level results of A level candidates in England. Source: Higher Education Funding Council for England (updated by NATRE, August 14, 2014)

National Association of Teachers of RE NATRE is the subject teacher association for RE professionals in primary and secondary schools and higher education, providing a representative voice at national level and publications and courses to promote professional development. NATRE's Executive consists of a majority of serving teachers from primary and secondary schools who are elected for a three-year term of service.

Religious Education Council of England and Wales Established in 1973, the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) brings together over 60 national organisations. These comprise academic and professional associations specialising in religions and religious education, as well as individual religions and belief organisations inclusive of the range of faith communities found nationally, including the British Humanist Association. 

ReThinkRE Campaign website: www.rethinkre.org


08/08/2014
Job Vacancy: Marketing and Sales Officer

MATERNITY COVER - up to 12 month fixed term contract Salary: £19,000 - £23,000 (depending on skills and experience)

We need an organised and enthusiastic Marketing and Sales Officer to cover maternity leave.  The position will commence in October and it is likely it will last up to 12 months.  If you have strong communication skills, an eye for detail and the ability to take projects and campaigns from concept to completion we would love to hear from you.

We are growing and developing all the time and looking for someone with fresh ideas and a great attitude to come and join us.  This is an exciting time to come and work for us.

Reporting to the CEO, your role will involve working with a small team on the marketing, promotion and sales of a number products and services that come under our umbrella organisation. This will include growing the advertising revenue in our magazines and online presence and the promotion of our work through creative and innovative means.

Responsibilities will include the collation of market research information; data collection from organisations and individuals to assist the business in building its profile and that of its products. This marketing function specifically supports about 45% of the annual income of this £1m pa charitable company

We're looking for someone with strong organisational and forward-thinking skills and also have initiative. You should be able to work independently, but also function in a team environment and have the following skills and experience:

* Proven experience of managing a variety of marketing and sales functions * Proven track record of developing and implementing marketing and sales plans * Proven experience managing direct mail campaigns * Proven experience of marketing and selling advertising / products / services to generate income * The ability to write concise, engaging copy and promotional materials * Proven experience of using management information systems, report creation, interrogating data * Excellent customer relationship management * The ability to interact easily and effectively with all members of the team as well external clients and suppliers. * Degree level or equivalent.

You will work closely with the CEO on a variety of tasks and will need to be a flexible and organised team member.

* Working hours: 35 hours / 5 days per week * Office Based: 1020 Bristol Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham, B29 6LB

Download the job description Marketing_and_Sales_Officer_August_2014.doc

Please apply by submitting a covering letter, CV and enclose / attach the equal opportunities form to Diane Horton at diane.horton@christianeducation.org.uk or post to Diane Horton, Office Manager, Christian Education / RE Today Services, 1020 Bristol Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham, B29 6LB

* Closing date for applications: 10am on Thursday 21 August 2014 * Successful applicants notified: Friday 22 August 2014 * Interviews in Selly Oak, Birmingham: Tuesday 2 September * Starting date: Monday 6 October 2014


15/07/2014
Helping teachers interpret the DfE standards in relation to RE

What is it for? This is a support tool to help individual teachers interpret the DfE standards in relation to RE.  It could be used for self audit or in the context of professional development. The RE exemplification material simply illustrates the particular RE applications of the general standards and also refers to further helpful sources of information such as the REC’s Code of Conduct and Practice for Teachers of RE and the RE Quality Mark’s criteria for achieving that award.

Who wrote it? This guidance material was produced jointly by NATRE members and the Professional Development Committee of the RE Council.

Are RE teachers required to follow it? Unlike the DfE Teacher Standards, this is not a statement of a statutory requirement. It is something teachers can use as they wish to support their own development and for subject leaders to use in work with colleagues. Any suggestions as to how it might be improved will be welcomed.

Click to download the document


20/06/2014
Impact of Government policy on GCSE RS

Two elements of government policy since 2010 have been described as having 'unintended negative consequences for Religious Education'. The first of these was the English Baccalaureate introduced in 2010. This was a school performance measure for schools which were ranked according to the number of candidates who achieved a grade GCSE A*-C in five so - called academic subjects; English, Maths, Science, a language and History or Geography. The second decision was to change the method by which a school's average point score at GCSE was calculated. Details on the effect these have had have been analysed in this paper:

Impact_of_government_policy_on_GCSE_RS_150614_final.pdf


13/06/2014
2014 NATRE Secondary Survey - can you help?

NATRE has launched its annual survey on RE in secondary schools in England and urges all those who teach RE to complete it. Your responses will provide NATRE with invaluable details to inform its ongoing campaign to secure the place of RE in the curriculum in all types of schools in the face of significant challenges from changes in the curriculum.

As a thank-you for completing the survey, NATRE is offering a £5 voucher to use on any RE Today publications. The code you need to redeem your voucher is given at the end of the survey.

The deadline for completion is 25 July - make sure you have your say! Please also share the survey link below to all your contacts in secondary schools.

Complete the survey.


04/06/2014
A new adviser joins RE Today: introducing Kate Christopher

We're really pleased to announce the appointment of Kate Christopher as RE Today's new national adviser, following the retirement last year of Rosemary Rivett. Kate was appointed in late February after we received the largest field of candidates for an adviser post we have ever had.

Her wide experience in RE from community school, to pupil referral unit and boy's grammar school and her exceptional service on the NATRE national executive combine to give Kate excellent starting points in the work of an RE Adviser. She joins the team at a time when we are working on a widening range of contracts and training / CPD all over the country, so we are glad now to have an adviser in the south East of England. Expect to meet Kate at an RE event near you, soon.

Commenting on joining RE Today, she says: ‘After years of using RE Today’s excellent teaching resources and articles in my classroom, it is immensely exciting to have the opportunity to serve RE teachers. I love RE Today’s brand of rigorous, creative and innovative RE, and can't wait to join the team.’


03/06/2014
Latest conversation on #REchatUK - Creative Approach to RE

#REchatUK took place on Monday 2 June 2014 8 - 9pm. If you missed it and want to catch up on the discussion on ‘Creative approaches to RE ’ you can see it here.

Thanks to those who contributed. Do take a look and please consider taking part next month: Monday 7 July 8 - 9pm.

If you have any suggestions as to what next month's topic should be please send a tweet to @NATREupdate


29/05/2014
New to RE? Find the best support for your start here!

Will you be new to secondary RE in September 2014?

Are you hoping to be a newly qualified secondary RE teacher in September 2014? Would you value having an experienced RE teacher/leader as a personal mentor? Are you keen to extend your repertoire of strategies for teaching RE? Would you like support with deepening your subject knowledge, as you teach six religions and other worldviews?

If so you’ll be pleased to hear about the New to RE programme from National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE). We have 25 places to offer to NQTs on our three-year early career development programme: New to RE.

Click the flyer to find out more New_to_RE_2014_flyer.pdf Complete the application form New_to_RE_2014_application_form.doc


29/05/2014
NATRE joins the Global Learning Programme (GLP)

NATRE are pleased to be partners in the Global Learning Programme (GLP) along with several other subject associations. Schools participating in GLP will experience the exciting impact that knowledge and understanding of global learning can bring to pupils' learning across the curriculum.

GLP will also help schools develop an ethos promoting tolerance, fairness and respect. Teachers involved in GLP will work with colleagues in local schools to drive forward global learning across the curriculum, share best practice and engage in funded CPD opportunities.

We are looking for partner schools to show how RE can support Global learning.

See here for more details and let us know on exec@natre.org.uk if you are interested.

Click here for overviews showing how to integrate Global learning into RE at Key Stage 2 Click here for overviews showing how to integrate Global learning into RE at Key Stage 3


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REC earsYou can also find news on the RE Council website - www.religiouseducationcouncil.org.


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