Christianity in RE

Posted on June 08, 2015 by Amy Tolmie

I was among a gathering of the great and good of the RE world last week. At the headquarters of the Jerusalem Trust in central London I listened to a very exciting new project very carefully not-being-launched to a room of 30 or so people who were all, I think, chomping at the bit to get hold of materials! This is the National Society for Promoting Religious Education's Teaching Christianity Project, both introduced and protected by Nigel Genders of the Church of England and the National Society.

This looks like it could be a game changer for the Christianity element of the teaching of RE: a resource which takes children through the entire gospel narrative, encouraging them to have fantastic 'theological literacy', enabling them to both learn about and learn from the amazing story of salvation that stretches back to the beginning of time and forward right into today's context! With full training on offer for those who are already teaching RE and coming into Initial Teacher Training as well the National Society, in conjunction with the Jerusalem Trust and Culham St Gabriel's clearly have taken up the challenge of the 2010 Ofsted report which stated that poor subject knowledge had lead to a total lack of confidence in the teaching of the Christianity element of RE.

This project is currently being piloted in both faith schools and community schools to ensure that the content works across the system and will be formally launched in the spring of 2016.

I was almost as excited by seeing so many people who obviously care about the state of RE teaching all in the same room as I am about this new resource! It was inspiring and tantalising as Nigel declined to give us much of a preview of the resource (save for one A4 side of text which gave almost nothing away!), stating that they wanted to make sure it was up to scratch and not be too quick to publish something that wasn't quite as good as it could be.

As a schoolsworker I'm really pleased that the Church of England have responded this way to that Ofsted report; as a member of my local SACRE I'm really interested in resources which support the teaching of RE; and as a Christian I'm really excited by materials which give the students a full and rich experience of Christianity! Can't wait for the formal launch!