The Curriculum for Wales brings many changes to current provision, pedagogy and practice in our local schools. Religious Education becomes Religion, Values and Ethics (RVE) from September 2022 and as such it was important to Wrexham SACRE that the local learner voice was heard before the Agreed Syllabus Conference recommends a new agreed syllabus for RVE to the local authority.
Libby Jones met with representatives of Senedd yr Ifanc Wrecsam (Wrexham’s Youth Parliament) on Monday 25 April to find out the views and opinions of young people aged 11 – 25 on the changes affecting religious education and the transition to Religion, Values and Ethics.
The young people present listened carefully and respectfully, as they took on board the changes with maturity and seriousness. They asked pertinent and insightful questions regarding how the changes will affect them and their fellow learners. Older representatives drew on their own past experiences in school and showed empathy and consideration for their younger peers who will be mainly affected by the changes.
Some of the points raised included:
- the importance of exploring different religions and non-religious beliefs for a cohesive society;
- the importance of feeling included within these lessons and how RVE will make teaching and learning more accessible and relevant to them;
- learning about people’s values and ethics as well as their religions will be more interesting and appealing to learners of all ages and backgrounds;
- concern about whether the inclusion of non-religious beliefs in to an already full curriculum might overload the subject and in turn make RVE examinations more content heavy;
- concern about how the changes may affect how much they learn about their own religion;
- concern for their teachers in ensuring that their subject knowledge is broad enough to accommodate the addition of non-religious beliefs; and
- the need to ensure that teaching and learning is based on authentic and accurate information, especially with regard to perhaps less familiar religions or denominations and non-religious beliefs that are represented locally and nationally.
On the whole, the Senedd yr Ifanc was very positive about RVE, and the valuable contributions of the young people that were present will help to inform the agreed syllabus on RVE and the support offered by the local authority through its Standing Advisory Council to its schools in the roll out of the Curriculum for Wales.
Thank you to all of the young people involved in the meeting and to Caroline and Tricia for facilitating.