Spirited Arts & Poetry


Winning entries will provide a good response to one of the 5 themes, and judges will be asking 'Is it original?' 'Is it well-crafted?' And (most importantly!) 'Is it excellent RE?'

Many schools host their own Spirited Arts competition and send their 10 winning entries in to our international competition. What a great way to engage all your teachers and pupils and raise the profile of RE in your school! To enable teachers to incorporate the art competition into their RE lessons, many schools have an ‘Spirited Arts’ unit of work, or a special learning RE/arts week.

Don't forget to check out our supporting resources & ideas section below - including a FREE webinar for both Primary and Secondary teachers.


We have some exciting new themes for you and your pupils for the 2022 competition! We are delighted to partner with the Jo Cox Foundation for our “We have far more in common with each other than that which divides us.” theme.

“We have far more in common with each other than that which divides us.”

The quote from Jo Cox MP introduces this theme which is about the question: are we one human race, despite our differences and divisions? We are all different, and all religions are different – but are we all the same too? Can we all be united? What holds humanity together? Is it faith? Hope? Love? Music? What threatens to tear us apart? How can we overcome the divisions that affect us? Use some specific religious ideas and quotes in this. Make a work of art that shows what unites us, brings us together, joins humans as one people and expresses our harmony. Use the disciplines of theology, but also of psychology and sociology to explore the questions and create your responses. We are delighted to once again partner with the Jo Cox Foundation to run this theme.

God’s good earth?
(“Beautiful World, wonderful God?")

Are we spoiling God’s good earth? Does the Earth belong to God? Should we be thankful for it? Can we save it in time from the threats of climate change? The beauty of the earth is celebrated in many religions, but the human spoiling of the earth is a danger and a coming crisis. In this theme, learners are invited to explore ideas and beliefs about the natural world, human responsibility for the earth and ways of praying about climate justice. Great work will show some originality: the globe in God’s hands won’t win! Challenge pupils to use scripture quotations thoughtfully, but also the methods of scientific enquiry and moral study to develop deep answers and good writing to go with stunning images.

Searching for God

Pupils who are atheists, agnostics and believers in God can all respond to this theme. We invite expressions of their sense of the search for God. Where’s God? In your heart? In prayer? In the temple or the universe? Or is she hiding? Is he not there at all? Unreal? Imaginary? Looking for God, searching for him or her, matters to many, but how are we doing in finding God? Would you search with google or a ‘god-detector’? Is God on Instagram, TikTok or WhatsApp? Can God be found by prayer or by looking among the world’s suffering people? This popular theme produces great work where pupils use ideas from religions clearly: The Jewish Psalms 42 and 43 are where it starts – there are parallels in many scriptures. Use theological reflection as well as philosophical argument to make great work.

A view of the world

Our subject is increasingly called ‘Religion and Worldviews’ This theme invites pupils to express their own world view. That might include beliefs and values, identities and truths as you see them. A religion is one kind of worldview and so are Humanism, atheism and being spiritual but not religious. Encourage pupils here to think about their own view of the world – or maybe some older pupils will present a view of the world they disagree with! Looking through a lens, some tinted glasses or a microscope is a common image for trying to understand how our worldviews work – will your pupils use that, or some more original idea?

Celebrations: big days and big ideas

This theme enables pupils to create work about religious festivals from Divali and Eid to Wesak or Vaisakhi, Easter or Shabbat, Christmas and Remembrance. Festivals can be annual – or weekly, celebrated in places of worship of on the streets. Encourage learners to connect their vision of today’s festivities to stories and memories from long ago, and to use scripture and other holy words in their work. Pieces of work might look at one festival, but some will be up for the challenge of looking at more than one celebration and noticing what’s similar and different, how excitement, memory, love and community are drawn together by big days and big ideas.

Click here to download the list of themes and full competition details.

Who can enter?

We welcome entries from pupils of all abilities and any school type, from age 3 right up to age 19. We can only accept 10 entries per school – so be sure to whittle them down to your 10 best.

Pupils can create entries individually, in pairs or groups, or as whole class, year or school entries. We have also been pleased to receive entries from whole community groups on previous years.

Prizes & judging

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

We aim to award 5 prizes for each theme (25 in total) but may award more if we have very strong entries for some themes. Entries are split into Key Stages for judging, and we hope to have at least one winner per key stage where possible.

Prizes are typically:

  • Individual pupil winners - £20 Amazon voucher
  • Paired winners - £10 Amazon voucher each
  • Group/Class/Year/School winners – Prizes decided on a case by case basis, but are often a £50-£100 voucher or cheque for the school to choose appropriate prizes.

All schools whose pupil(s) produce winning work will also receive a prize (usually a voucher to spend with RE Today, NATRE, or a copy of a best-selling publication from RE Today).


FREE resources:

Now in its 18th year, Spirited Arts has attracted over 450,000 participants (averaging 25,000 per year!) since 2004, with 3,000 entries being sent in to NATRE each year for judging. Hundreds of UK schools get involved, and we get entries coming from as far a-field as Hong Kong, Australia, Thailand and Bahrain.

We hope you’re excited to be involved this year! We are looking forward to another year of wonderful, inspirational and unique work from your pupils.

Download the full Spirited Arts 2022 themes and competition details.

Please get in contact if you have further questions by emailing competition@natre.org.uk.

Have you entered before? We'd love to hear from you.
As we approach the 20th year of the competition in 2024, we want to evaluate and assess the impact the competition has had and continues to have in classroom in the UK and around the world. This survey will take approx. 5 minutes to complete, and your input will be invaluable to us as we look to the future.

Complete the short evaluation here.