Local Group News Board

The Taunton RE Hub is part of the Learn Teach Lead RE initiative, which is a grassroots initiative in the South West to improve the quality of RE in all schools by building communities of RE teachers which are organised into areas and local hubs. Working in collaboration with NATRE, Learn Teach Lead RE have a long-standing relationship with the National Association of Teachers of RE.

The project seeks to create partnerships with faith communities and networks of interested individuals and organisations, research into what makes for high quality RE, develop the subject knowledge of RE teachers, and disseminate the best pedagogical practices in religious education.

Lately, at the Taunton Hub, members have concentrated on what is called “field work”; holding the meetings with and at local faith community groups.

Michael Keogh, teacher at Kings Bruton school and avid RE supported commented “we feel that there is a need to bring a more systematic training element to the Hub, and as a result invited Leonard Daniels to lead an introductory session on Non-Violent Communication at our meeting on Thursday 13th June at Kingston St. Mary Primary School.”

Taunton is coincidentally also the hometown of Leonard Daniels, and he was a close associate of Marshall Rosenberg – who developed NVC - and worked with Marshall on conflict resolution in Palestine, Northern Ireland and Switzerland. Leonard was one of the first people to get NVC established in the UK. He is now retired and spends time as an advocate and teacher of NVC, working with organisations such as the Musgrove Hospital, as well as local schools, colleges and charities, and groups of local teachers – giving his time and expertise for free - he sees this as paying back the gift!

Non-Violent Communication – or NVC – is a rather clunky name for a communication tool or framework that can help us see what is happening in an interaction, avoid triggers and pitfalls, and then unpick and unravel the tight knot of an intransigent conflict.

  • As a methodology, one that is shared and used with and by the children, it is a simple but powerful framework the use of which has a direct effect of raising the self-esteem of all and promoting empathy for others.
  • As with all tools, the more one uses it, the more skilled one becomes.
  • For an entertaining and brief introduction to NVC, you could give this edition of Radio 4’s great lives a listen, where the comedian Tony Hawks introduces the life and work of Marshall Rosenberg, who formulated NVC. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07q87sm

Apart from the general educational benefit from practising NVC, it is a powerful tool in a specifically RE context. In reformed times where the emphasis is on knowledge and understanding, many RE professionals still maintain the importance of developing skills and attitudes such as self-esteem, empathy, and conflict management, that NVC develops.

RE is also a subject in which here is a great deal of discussion, in which either as a whole class or in groups, student explore religious phenomena. The NVC framework enables respectful discussion that promotes self-esteem for all participants.

The Taunton local group will be circulating a survey soon to find out whether other local teachers and educators are interested in this offer, and to consider how we could deliver it. The meetings would be open to anyone who can travel to Taunton. For further information or upcoming dates for future meetings please contact local group leader Michael.s.keogh@gmail.com.

Next meeting date: TBC

Focus: Ofsted Framework and its impact on RE

Ideas for your next Local Group meeting

  • Invite cross curricular speakers to your RE group to expand reach
  • Use your local group time for systematic training, as Michael did in this example
  • Invite local faith places to host local groups for “field work”.