Black Lives Matter: A statement from NATRE

The protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd have drawn attention to the ongoing presence of racism in our society and has given many people the opportunity to reflect on issues that ought to have been more prominent. The RE classroom is a place where diverse voices can be heard, and important ideas such as justice and diversity can be learned about, and honestly and safely discussed. Teachers of RE often make a fine contribution to education against prejudice in all kinds of ways. However, there have been some criticism that the RE curriculum lacks contemporary voices from a range of backgrounds. While NATRE has been working to promote greater inclusion of contemporary and diverse voices in the classroom, we recognize that there is more to do across the whole age range, and this work needs to be done with greater urgency.

It is also true that the RE curriculum has not always sufficiently acknowledged the role of religious and non-religious worldviews in injustice, both in the past and in the present. Again, this is an area that those of us with roles in curriculum design need to take action on. NATRE promotes RE that is inclusive, pluralistic and critical, but we accept that there remains work to do to ensure that what our pupils learn better reflects this intention. We are taking steps to do more of this work.

The NATRE Executive Committee is becoming a more diverse group, though there is still some way to go before the Executive Committee, and especially the leadership of that Committee, reflects the diversity of the RE teaching community. It is pleasing to see that there is a diverse group of people currently standing for election to the Executive, and NATRE commits itself to thinking and acting further to improve in this respect.

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