Spirited Arts

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'Art in Heaven'

The Art in Heaven competition started in 2004 and has been held every year since! Over 340,000 participants (averaging 20,000 per year!) have been sent in to NATRE for judging. Hundreds of UK schools get involved, and we get entries coming from as far afield as Cyprus and Australia, Indonesia and South Africa.

The annual competition starts at the beginning of every school year and runs through to 31 July, in order to enable teachers to incorporate the art competition into their RE lessons. Many schools have an ‘Art in Heaven’ unit of work, or a special learning RE/arts week.

Judging by RE Today Advisers and students, takes place in August and winners are announced in the new academic year.


We are delighted to announce TWO major changes to Spirited Arts for 2016 to enable teachers to continue to develop and improve their RE through the competition.

Firstly, we have decided, not without some discussion, to suggest certain themes would suit Primary or Secondary classrooms better. We feel that detail, depth and creativity is limited by offering themes which talk to five year-olds as much as fifteen year-olds. Therefore this year we have written the first two themes with Secondary pupils in mind, and the last three with Primary pupils in mind. There is nothing to stop you choosing a theme out of your age range. We have made this decision to improve the level of challenge in the themes in response to what children at certain ages do well, from the exuberant imaginations of the youngest to the insightful critique of the oldest.

Secondly, this year we take the step of showing what sort of content we would expect to see in response to themes. This has been made possible by splitting the themes into Primary and Secondary. We offer brief examples of subject knowledge, discussion questions or teaching and learning approaches you may employ to get your pupils in the right frame of mind to respond to the theme. This content is only suggested, we would love to see all sorts of ideas, but we want to see some evidence that some RE content has been explored in coming to create the artwork.

We are looking forward to another year of wonderful, inspirational and unique artwork from your pupils. We hope you find these changes improve your experience of the competition. Please get in contact if you have further questions by emailing admin@natre.org.uk

Download the themes for 2016 here

Theme guidance notes:


It's not fair! Faith and Justice

Where is God today?

Seeing Jesus


Could Britain be a rainbow nation?

Visions and Prophecy