Teaching the teachers

How we're working hard to get RE, and teaching about Christianity, taken seriously.

Helping to strengthen RE in primary schools

A key weakness of RE in the majority of (primary) schools was the superficial nature of the pupils’ learning. Too often, teaching failed to challenge pupils.

From the Making a Difference? A Review of Religious Education in Church of England Schools report, The National Society, September 2014

The Making a Difference report sounds very negative, doesn't it? Older readers might remember a time when the Religious Education they received as children was all about the Bible and nothing else. (Did it challenge you?) Much has changed since then, with 'RE' now including other world faiths and teachers coming into the profession with little first-hand knowledge of Christianity.

Our Barnabas in Schools team spends a lot of time running Christianity (and the Bible)-themed creative arts-based Barnabas RE Days in primary schools, and that's all well and good, but can you imagine the broader impact of encouraging more teachers to take up the subject with the same enthusiasm as ours?

Chris Hudson, Barnabas in Schools team

Working hard to get RE taken seriously

The Church of England and Roman Catholic diocesan networks are currently the most enthusiastic users of our services, but their primary schools and academies comprise only around 30% of the total schools in England and Wales. What about the other 70%? When it comes to RE, most of these schools are answerable to local authority syllabuses.

If you follow the news, you'll know that the power of local education authorities is being heavily challenged by central government. Sometimes, RE (as a subject) can disappear if nobody is looking after it.

So we're working hard to get RE (and in particular teaching about Christianity) taken seriously, and one way we do this is by creating training programmes that professionally scratch where schools are itching.

It also means our schools team getting involved and working together with anyone else who cares passionately about the subject - joining committees, organising conferences and being prepared to engage with the media at a time when Christianity can seem  under threat.

How you can help

Pray for our work in schools

We're really grateful for your prayers. Could you pray for:

  • Chris Hudson and Jane Butcher in our Barnabas in Schools team, as they work to make INSET more available to schools.
  • For creativity and inspiration as we seek to find new ways to equip teachers and to champion and support high-quality teaching of Christianity in primary schools.
  • For those making decisions about education at both local and national levels, that they would see the benefit that RE can bring to education.

Find out how you can pray for BRF

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Our work in schools is only possible because of donations from individuals, churches and trusts.

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