Articles by REtoday

For the classroom 14-19
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Tackling problems of prejudice

We interviewed Peter Tatchell, campaigner of equality for gay and lesbian people, to find out about his effective action for justice. This article may be useful for your students in examination classes studying issues of...
Events and resources
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RE in your region – one year on!

How fast time flies. It has been just over a year since we introduced our regional ambassadors to the local groups network, and what an impact they have made! Thanks to collaboration between Local Groups Officer Juliet...
Events and resources
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Jonathan Gullis MP

In the December 2019 general election, RE teacher Jonathan Gullis was elected MP for Stoke-on-Trent North. He referred to his past work in school in this parliamentary statement: ‘As a religious education teacher, I...
Events and resources
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Juliet Lyal steps down as NATRE Local Groups Officer

‘ Juliet is to RE what Coco is to Chanel – enduring, classic and inspiring.’ Vicky McDowell These words (above) from one of our local group leaders seem appropriate to begin an article reflecting on the work that...
Events and resources
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NATRE

NATRE nominations open The news pages on the NATRE website give information about how you can be nominated for the organisation’s next Executive. Visit: www.natre.org.uk and see the News section or About...
For the classroom 5-11
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We ran our own RE and values day

The Editor likes to publish pupils’ own writing, and this article from pupils at Bishop Bridgeman CE Primary School in Bolton shows how, when it comes to RE and spiritual development, they are doing it for...

For the classroom 7-11
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What ANNOYS you about religion?

This feature asks pupils to examine why religion (and possibly atheism too) can be annoying. Sometimes it is good RE to look at the ‘dark side’ of a worldview, our own or someone else’s. Use the script below to...
Events and resources
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BBC’s recent and new RE programming

The well-loved BBC Bitesize site has a major review and renewal underway, with ten new KS4 programmes nearly ready to use, and major innovations around the new GCSE for 14–16s. These ‘A day in the faith of…’...
Events and resources
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Events

New guidance on approaching diversity in primary RE Don’t miss this guidance and resource pack for primary schools. Dr Peter Hemming and a team from Cardiff University bring together recent policy, relevant research...
For the staffroom
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Spirited Poetry: when will your school enter?

Generously supported by the Westhill Trust On three previous occasions, the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education (NATRE) has received thousands of exciting entries for a contest that showed the ways RE...
Policy pages
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Approaches to timetabling RE

As reported by NATRE, based on the REC, NATRE and RE Today’s ‘The State of the Nation’ report (2017), workforce data shows that 28 per cent of schools are failing to allocate curriculum time for RE. RE is a...
Policy pages
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Withdrawal from RE

This subject is often debated in the RE community. Why should parents have the right to withdraw their children from RE and not any other subject? The original withdrawal clause stems from the 1944 Education Reform Act,...
Events and resources
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Understanding Humanism

Understanding Humanism is a website created to support teachers with teaching young people about Humanism. Designed by teachers, for teachers, the website features comprehensive, flexible and free resources for...

Events and resources
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The RE Quality Mark

Since September, 106 schools have applied for the RE Quality Mark. Thereare still grants available for small schools (with fewer than 150 pupils) andschools requiring improvement which would like to apply for the...
Events and resources
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RealityBites conferences on British Values

The following RealityBites lectures and conferences focus on citizenship education and, in particular, ‘the different ways in which a citizen can contribute to the improvement of their community, to include the...
Events and resources
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Exhibition at Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral has been hosting an inspirational exhibition of painting inspired by scripture. The exhibition was called Genesis: a visual exploration and was supported by the Farmington Institute. It comprised a...
Events and resources
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Gill Vaisey resources for early years RE

With British Values high on the agenda, now is the time to REThink your topics and make sure you have included RE. If you are using published schemes of work, topic packs or imaginative learning projects, be careful, as...
Events and resources
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Inspirational RE from a Hindu educator

Sushma Sahajpal, who writes about Hindu wisdom in this issue of REToday, offers a widely acclaimed Hindu visitor service to schools. Why not consider booking her to come and energise your RE? Others have enjoyed it;...
Events and resources
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Events: What’s going on in the RE community

RE-Definitions boost: more concepts and worldviews added to the app With well in excess of 25,000 logins since its launch just a year ago, the RE-Definitions app is already proving very popular with teachers and...
For the staffroom
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Big ideas: thinking from inside a faith

Big ideas might vary according to who you ask. Is Christianity more about forgiveness or the Trinity? Does Islam emphasise submission, revelation or prophethood most? Do Sikhs believe more in God or in service of...

Instant RE
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Where is God? A Sikh story

His majesty was puzzled. He thought to himself, ‘A great king
like me should not just be able to win battles and make laws.
I ought to be able to make sense of life.’ Every time he went
to the...

For the classroom 5-11
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Thinking about Easter: using some artefacts

What happened at Easter and what does it all mean? Big questions and big ideas for Christians. If you are teaching Easter to your primary pupils this term, a box of Easter artefacts (including a chocolate rabbit) could...
For the classroom 4-7
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The ‘big ideas’ RE classroom: 20 QUESTIONS

What would you do to make the infant RE classroom open to big ideas and questions? The REtoday Editorial Team shares some activities that will open minds to the big stuff in RE. Here we go – which ones can you...

Opinion
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BIG ideas, questions: what does this mean in RE?

RE is often valued by teachers and pupils for the ‘big questions’ it addresses. The place of ‘big ideas’ in the subject goes beyond what each particular religion has to say, and in some ways makes RE a subject...

The big picture
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Carving Jesus

Show this picture to your pupils, on the whiteboard.  Discuss some questions:  What can you see? What do you think you would see if the camera zoomed out?  Who might buy this statue?  How many hours might it...
For the staffroom
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Thirty years of beginnings and endings

We asked three key figures whose work has served RE well over the last thirty years to reflect on what has changed in three decades, good and bad!  Linda Rudge In 1985 I was teaching in eastern England, first as a Head...
Events and resources
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Events: Whats going on in the RE community

New BBCBitesize BBC Bitesize’s new GCSE RE content will be available online (www.bbc.com/bitesize) and on the Bitesize app (available for smartphones and tablets) from April 2019, in time for your students revising...
For the staffroom
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Faith perspectives on belief and animals

We asked six people from different religions and worldviews some questions about their attitudes to animals and the natural world. The next six pages are a great resource to use with students, who might read and...

On reflection
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Two parables for today

In our story section this term you will find two parables to use with your learners in different ways. Spot the connection to the theme of ‘The beginning and the end’. The parable of the twinsTwo twins got the same...
Events and resources
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Julie Grove: honour at the palace

Member of the REtoday editorial team Julie Grove was honoured at Buckingham Palace with the award of an MBE for services to education. Many REtoday readers will know the quality of her RE work over the years from her...
Events and resources
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BAFTA award for RE programme

The BBC RE series My Life, My Religion consists of five 30-minute programmes. Featuring lots of original filming from across Britain and using child presenters with diary cams, the programmes were first broadcast in...
Events and resources 14-19
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Questions of origins: Big Bang? God?

The ‘God and the Big Bang’ project continues to offer GCSE and A-level students (14–18 year olds) an exciting opportunity to discover, discuss and debate the compatibility of science and faith. The day conferences...
Instant RE
Pupils holding up their flags they had made This article is for paying subscribers

RE and human rights

A week of special events RE Today loves connections: human rights connected to the Ten Commandments, and festivals in religions connected to the celebration of a human and humane achievement: the 25th anniversary of the...
Instant RE
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The Devil’s RE

Sometimes the negative clarifies the positive. Do readers agree with these examples of the kind of RE the Devil might like? What would you add? At an open evening, or in a first lesson with older students, set up a...

For the classroom 11-16
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Plashet School Taking pride in RE

A philosophical forest Plashet School in East Ham is a state comprehensive all-girls’ secondary school. There are approximately 1,350 learners at the school, and all learners study PRE (Philosophy, Religion and Ethics)...
Instant RE
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Teachers Talk

‘Brand new blog space for teachers of RE to share their views and ideas and discuss topical issues relating to the fabulous subject of RE’

Opinion
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Jean Vanier and L’Arche Reducing evil

Jean Vanier is a Catholic philosopher, writer, and religious and moral leader (he’s not a priest). He founded the major international organisation L’Arche, which advocates community living for people with learning...
Instant RE
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HUMANITIES 20:20 A new vision for primary schools

RE and the humanities in primary schools Primary teachers know how important it is for children to learn about the world they live in and their relationships with other people. RE provides unique opportunities in the...
Events and resources 5-18
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Spirited Arts 2016 and 2017

There were five categories in the Art in Heaven competition this year, all attracting very large numbers of entries. We estimate that about 25,000 children and young people took part, and we would like thank them all,...
Events and resources
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RE Today one-day training courses

Each term RE Today Services runs a number of one-day training courses for primary and secondary teachers around the country. Our training will support you in developing your subject knowledge, increasing your confidence,...
Events and resources
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Support project New2RE continues to expand

NATRE was delighted to learn it had been successful in bids for grant funding from several different trusts, which will allow the New2RE scheme to continue into its third year and to expand. The programme is designed to...
Events and resources
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Free Humanist book for schools

The British Humanist Association has free copies of the book What is Humanism? by Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young to give away to schools in the UK. The book will teach young people what Humanism is, and will enable...
For the classroom 11-16
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Does God have favourite animals?

We asked some children in the infants if they thought God had favourite animals. All of them had some thoughts about this, which may be a sign of an interesting question. The answers were fascinating because the question...
For the classroom 11-16
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Thailand, Buddhism and animals

The creatures that inhabit this earth – be they human beings or animals – are here to contribute, each in its own particular way, to the beauty and prosperity of the world. The 14th Dalai Lama (2004) After living and...
Instant RE
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A Buddhist lantern festival

Recently, over 950 people gathered for a traditional Shinnyo Buddhist lantern floating ceremony at the peaceful, serene Shinnyo-en Buddhist Centre in Long Ditton in Kent. As well as lantern floating, there was Buddhist...
For the classroom
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A big step up for your RE in a single day

At RE Today, we believe we have a great way of lifting a whole school’s ambition and achievement in RE through whole-school professional development, often through clusters of school, multi-academy trusts and other...
For the classroom 5-14
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Is God Like an Animal?

In Christian scriptures, God – or ‘God in Jesus’ – is sometimes compared to animals. This might be a bit surprising, because humans sometimes think animals are ‘lesser beings’ than themselves, and God is...

Events and resources
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TrueTube wins a BAFTA

TrueTube wins a BAFTA Lots of RE teachers love TrueTube, and will be glad to hear of this richly deserved award. The winners of the British Academy Children’s Awards were announced at the ceremony, which was hosted by...
Events and resources
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Professor Robert Jackson honoured in Norway

Professor Robert Jackson was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim in the spring. The degree was awarded in recognition of Professor Jackson’s contributions to...
Events and resources
The presenters This article is for paying subscribers

Orkney finds

You can still catch up with Britain’s Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney, an exploration of Neolithic religion in the Orkneys by Neil Oliver and a BBC team who recently carried out an archaeological dig on the island....
Events and resources
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Resources

Happiness in this Life Author: Pope Francis translated by Shaun Whiteside Publisher: Bluebird Press £14.99 ISBN: 9781509886500 An interesting and insightful book for adults although possibly too devotional for the...
Events and resources
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NASACRE news

In May NASACRE held its annual general meeting and annual conference in Manchester. We heard from Peter Bull, an inspirational head of RE at a high school in Liverpool, about how he has worked with Liverpool SACRE to...
Events and resources
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RE provision grows atEdge Hill University

Edge Hill University has long been recognised as a Centre of Excellence for RE. For many years there has been a very popular PGCE Secondary RE course at Edge Hill, which also offers the unique three-year BA (Hons)...
For the staffroom
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What is your worldview?

The theme of this issue is Worldviews. We asked respondents for a wide range of perspectives to contribute an article about their own worldview, answering these questions. How would you describe your view of the world?...
Instant RE
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Six uses of the COMIC-BOOK BIBLE

The comic-book genre taps into children’s ease with combining visual and text information, and comics have become a useful supplementary resource in today’s classroom. They are considered a great way of engaging...

Instant RE
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Coco Movie

A great movie to explore a worldview and life beyond death

Events and resources
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CoRE Interim Report

The Commission on Religious Education has now met for three residential meetings in each of the terms in this academic year. The Commission has also travelled around England for evidence gathering sessions in...
Events and resources
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Superbook Schools

Gizmo, the popular robot, is the star attraction in a new resource for primary school RE, available free at www.superbookschools.org. Milly Smart from Superbook Schools says: ‘Superbook is similar to the magic key...

Events and resources
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BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze

BBC Radio 4’s long-running discussion programme The Moral Maze picked up the coveted Trustees’ Award at the 2017 Sandford St Martin Awards for religious broadcasting. The BBC’s Director of Radio and Education,...

Events and resources 5-11
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Friends and Heroes

Friends and Heroes programmes handle big issues such as people trafficking, child labour and disability … Have you heard of Friends and Heroes? An exciting animated TV series featuring the adventures of Macky and...
Events and resources 4 - 14
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What is the Understanding Christianity project?

Books at Press said, ‘The key purpose of this project is to help all teachers support pupils in developing their own thinking and their understanding of Christianity, as a contribution to their understanding of the...
Events and resources 7-16
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Pupil conferences for your school from RE Today advisers

Advisers Kate Christopher, Lat Blaylock and Julia Diamond-Conway run pupil conferences for children aged 7–19 around the country, and your school might benefit from such an event. Often, these conferences bring up to...
Events and resources
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Martin Luther: having some fun!

Described as ‘Horrible Histories meets Monty Python’, A Monk’s Tale is a lively commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the publication of Luther’s 95 Theses in 1517, told through witty sketches and songs in...

For the classroom 5-16
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The BBC’s latest offerings for RE

The BBC has resources for every age group from 4–16 in RE. Many teachers still don’t know about these, nor the classroom learning ideas we publish to support them. Here’s the script for one of our new BBC...
Editorial
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The view from the grassroots of Islam

REtoday is honoured to feature this interview with Dr Hany El Banna, founder of the major international relief and development charity Islamic Relief. We suggest the interview and his life story is a great way to...

Opinion
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Posh reggae and gospel: faith in music

YolanDa Brown on jazz, reggae, gospel and her Christian view of the world. YolanDa is a celebrity ambassador for many charities including the Prince’s Trust, Children and the Arts, and World Child Cancer, and in 2018...
For the classroom 11-19
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The best of religion: our top 20

The REtoday Editorial Team considered this term’s theme. We made this list of our top 20 manifestations of religion globally. What an arrogant idea! Make your own list if you wish before reading on: did you share...

Events and resources
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RE Definitions: a app for RE teachers

RE Definitions is a app for RE teachers that gives handy access to the pronunciation and meaning of more than 200 key terms. As an app on mobiles and tablets, and as a website for computers, it’s for nonspecialists who...
Events and resources
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STRICTLY RE:

Over 275 RE teachers and professionals attended Strictly RE, NATRE’s annual conference, on 27 January 2018 in central London. We welcomed delegates from all over the UK, as well as from as far afield as Cyprus and...

For the classroom 4-11
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Using faith stories: ten great ideas

1. Shared stories, different meaning? When telling stories from a shared tradition, make sure you get it right. For example, Adam and Hawa (Eve) feature in the Qur’an, but Hawa does not tempt Adam to eat the fruit;...
Events and resources
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Resources

A well-presented book that teachers may find useful to inform them of the meanings and pronunciation of the 99 names of Allah. The book also gives much further insight into Islam with stories and explanations of key...

Events and resources
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Christian Aid:

Global Neighbours, a new award scheme for primary schools In January 2018 Christian Aid is launching Global Neighbours, an accreditation scheme for primary schools, in partnership with the Church of England Education...
Events and resources
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Free online A-level journal:

Challenging Religious Issues is an online journal supporting A-level RS for students and teachers. It was set up through Welsh Government sponsorship and is published by the St Mary’s Centre. Articles are written by...

Events and resources 13-18
Follow the leaders, Berlin. Germany. 2011 by Isaac Cordal This article is for paying subscribers

Baked Alaska:

These new resources for school RE for students aged 13–18 raise challenging questions about climate justice through video clips from the ‘Baked Alaska’ stage show and provide many free lesson plans and resources...

Events and resources 14-16
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Free GCSE RS resources launched by Bible Society

At the end of the 2017–18 academic year, the first students will sit exams for the strengthened GCSE RS courses, which were introduced in September 2016 as part of the reform of GCSE qualifications. These new RS...

For the classroom 7-14
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Beginning to see RE as research

This idea is one of many ways to move RE in an enquiring direction. If we think of pupils as researchers, then the enquiring purposes of RE come into focus. So we asked several schools (thanks to them all) to set...

For the classroom 13-16
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Islam and science:

Letter writing is often suggested by textbooks as a way to enable pupils to respond to an issue. In this example, we go further, and offer four ‘letter starts’ that address key issues in Islam and science, with...

The big picture
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A Hindu creation story

Activity 1: What’s the meaning?Ask pupils to begin by looking carefully at the image and trying to work out what the story told by the picture might be. Feed them some information after they have had a chance to think...
Events and resources
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Book review – My Life My Religion

‘My Life, My Religion’: new BBC RE programmes for 7–12s It’s been some years since we had new programmes for primary RE from the BBC, but here they are: five 30-minute programmes, all free to use. REtoday...
Reviews
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Book review – How I Stopped Being a Jew

Shlomo Sand, How I Stopped Being a Jew (Verso 2014), 102pp, hardback £9.99, 9781781686140. Verso Books is Britain’s go-to publisher for writers wishing to challenge the Israeli regime and wider Zionist approaches to...
Instant RE
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The Golden Rule

Love as you wish to be loved, treat how you’d like to be treated. The ‘Golden Rule’ of treating others how you wish to be treated yourself comes in many forms and in every different religious belief system. Here we...
For the classroom 7-16
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The Values Game: a classic RE learning idea

This powerful learning tool for pupils in moral education and RE was first devised in the mid-1990s. This version enables any teacher to work on the values agenda today.

For the classroom 9-16
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The search for God

Martyn Joseph, singer songwriter, released ‘I Searched for You’ in 2015. We asked Martyn some questions about the song, and provide below some learning ideas about the search for God.

For the staffroom 5-11
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Book review – Sing Together

Piano arrangements by Rob Stroh, Out of the Ark 2013, book & audio CD £23.95, ISBN 978-1-906988-52-4; book, audio CD & Words on Screen™ CD-ROM, £39.99, ISBN 978-1-906988-53-1. www.outoftheark.com Sing...
For the staffroom
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The wisdom of dialogue

An interview with Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, exploring the themes of his recent book. In the contemporary world of inter- religious tension and conflict, what can dialogue really achieve?DCS: Today religious conflict is...
Instant RE
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Winning a quarter million: Roop Singh

My dad and I would often sit and watch Deal or No Deal together when I used to take his evening meal to his house. I think he enjoyed watching my reactions more than watching the show. He encouraged me to go on the show...
Instant RE
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Wisdom in poetry: A student’s example

St Dominic’s School, Brewood, in Staffordshire ran a Gifted and Talented pupil day for 60 students from three different schools in September, including a creative challenge: to express and explore religious beliefs...

For the classroom 4-19
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Wisdom from young minds

We thought it might be fun to crowd-source some wisdom from pupils, so we asked on Facebook for wise comments and questions heard in recent RE lessons. Here are a few of our favourites. Why not make a ‘wall of...

Opinion
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The wisdom of fairness

What is a sermon? Does it impart wisdom? Alan Bennett, playwright, gave this ‘Sermon’ at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, last year, calling for Christian fairness and the phasing out of fee-paying schools. The...