North Wales Science is a charity with a vision to be ‘A home for Inspiring Science in the Heart of the Community’. The charity operates the science discovery centre, Xplore! Wrexham, and delivers interactive activities as outreach across North Wales and North West England.
The team at Xplore! are co-creating four workshops in close collaboration with the St Giles’ Centre Wrexham, especially for primary schools. Each workshop will bring together teaching and learning in religion, values and ethics (RVE) and science in creative and interactive ways.
On Thursday 1 December, St Mary’s Primary School Overton, piloted one of the workshops In Search of Light with yr 3 and 4 learners. The children really enjoyed the experience and found lots of useful connections between the two subject areas. The school has created a series of collages to show how these connections linked to their new curriculum.
The pilot will continue in 2023, involving up to 20 primary schools in Wrexham. For further details on how your school can get involved, please contact us.
Collages created by St Mary’s Primary School, Overton
On 22 November, the RVE Advisor for Wrexham Local Authority, Libby Jones, gave a presentation at the Headteachers’ Briefing meeting for Wrexham local authority’s primary and secondary schools.
During the presentation, Libby provided headteachers with key messages about: • RVE in the Curriculum for Wales; • the Wrexham Agreed Syllabus for RVE; • professional learning at national and local level; • the new Agored Cymru Exploring Worldviews qualification for 14-16 year olds; • and supporting curriculum resources.
As part of these supporting curriculum resources, special ‘limited edition’ hard copies of the storybook series, Randalph’s Spiritual Quest and Search for Meaning were distributed to the primary headteachers to take back to their schools with a poster for their staff rooms. Later in the year, a new Wrexham storybook in the series will be published.
Both the limited edition and the forthcoming Wrexham storybook edition have been developed and sponsored by the St Giles’ Centre.
This free bilingual online series was originally sponsored by the Welsh Government to support RVE in the Curriculum for Wales. Drawing on an integrated approach to RVE within the Humanities Area, the series includes: • 6 storybooks; • films; • music; • a guide for teachers (revised in November 2022).
Although written for primary learners, the series would also work well as a transition resource.
The St Giles’ Centre welcomes the publication of the document Curriculum for Wales: supporting non-statutory guidance for Catholic schools, which relates to statutory Religion, Values and Ethics (RVE). Also included in the document is guidance on ‘Relationships and Sexuality Education’ (RSE).
The aim of the document is to provide headteachers, governors, staff, parents and clergy ‘additional non-statutory guidance to Catholic schools on using Curriculum for Wales to design a curriculum which reflects their Catholic faith and values. It builds on the Curriculum for Wales guidance, providing contextual support for Catholic schools. It is not intended to duplicate or differ in principle from that guidance.’ (Page 3)
In addition to this development, a new version of the Religious Education Curriculum Directory is currently being written, which will ‘take into account all the statutory requirements for Welsh schools.’ (Page 6)
Within the context of Religion, Values and Ethics (RVE), it is recognised that: ‘We live in a society containing a range of religious and non-religious worldviews and these need to be studied to prepare our young people for life in Wales, the United Kingdom, and the wider world. This learning needs to be underpinned by mutual respect of everyone and tolerance of alternate views. Learning about religions and worldviews other than Catholicism is thus the result of deep respect for the human dignity of the persons that hold these views.’ (Page 6)
You can read the new guidance document in Welsh and English here (scroll down to the bottom of the web page).
On Thursday 10th November BBC Radio Wales’s award-winning ‘All Things Considered’ faith and ethics series will be recorded in front of a live audience at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. It is to mark the Wal Goch Festival of Football, being celebrated in Wrexham from 11-13 November.
Programme guests include: Graham Daniels, General Director of Christians in Sport and a Director of Cambridge United Football Club. Jahangir Mohammad, Founder and Director of the Ayaan Institute Ewa Turczanska, Member of the Colwyn Bay Amnesty International group and contributor to the World Cup values statement made earlier this year with the Welsh Centre for International Affairs. Faisal Bode from the Islamic Human Rights Commission.
Many are looking forward to the Football World Cup. It’s the first time that Wales has qualified since 1958, and it’s also the first time the World Cup has been hosted by a Muslim nation, Qatar. However, the games have been shadowed by controversy, with a spotlight shone on the rights and working conditions of the migrant workers involved in building the infrastructure. Paris and other French cities are boycotting the games by not screening them in public spaces. Amnesty International has questioned their record on human rights and LGBT rights. In response, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, has said that Qatar has faced unprecedented criticism since winning the bid. Roy Jenkins and guests discuss the issues.
You can listen to this important discussion 13th November on BBC Radio Wales at 9am, or you can find it on BBC Radio Sounds. Students from Coleg Cambria, Wrexham Glyndŵr University, and Bangor University will be in the audience.
As part of the consultation process, Qualifications Wales are holding an online webinar providing an overview of the new Religious Studies GCSE proposals on 19 October 2022, 16.00 – 17.00.
The event describes the new Religious Studies qualification as encouraging “learners to make sense of – and interpret – the human experience, the natural world, and their own place within it, awakening a sense of awe and wonder and firing the imagination. This qualification will inspire learners to face the future with curiosity and compassion, growing in knowledge, understanding and wisdom, by engaging with different religions, non-religious beliefs, contemporary ethical issues, and philosophical convictions locally, nationally and globally.”
The St Giles’ Centre welcomes the recent publication of the Church in Wales Religion, Values and Ethics Guidance.
Referring specifically to Religion, Values and Ethics, the Church in Wales Statement on Education comments that: “Throughout its history Wales has welcomed people of different faiths and from different cultures, and via its teaching of the subject of religion, values and ethics, the Church in Wales supports an approach which promotes the understanding of and respect for all religions, beliefs and non-religious world views, thus reflecting the diversity that exists in our forward-looking Welsh society.”
The Church in Wales Guidance closely follows the structure of the statutory Welsh Government Religion, Values and Ethics Guidance (published in January 2022), while offering important interpretative notes, additions and example material relevant to Church in Wales schools.
You can read the Welsh and English Church in Wales Guidance here:
The WJEC has just introduced its new professional learning programme for 2022/23. There are over 600 face-to-face or online courses on offer, which will be run by the WJEC’s team of experts across the country.
The St Giles’ Centre will be funding places for Wrexham schools on the Religious Studies GCSE and Religious Studies AS/ A Level courses, to support its local RS practitioners on their professional learning and development journey.
If you are a teacher in Wrexham and you have not yet booked your place on the Religious Studies courses, please get in touch with Libby Jones at email@example.com
WJEC GCSE Religious Studies: Assessment and Classroom Practice
Venue: Llandudno Showing Date: December 14th, 2022 Start time: 09:00 Price (each): 210.00 GBP (Full day course)
The new Wrexham Agreed Syllabus for Religion, Values and Ethics (RVE) 2022 is now available, and it was circulated to headteachers in the local authority last week. In the autumn term, the Agreed Syllabus will also be on the Wrexham local authority’s website.
The St Giles’ Centre has published a new bilingual professional learning resource entitled Exploring worldviews: a stimulus resource for religion, values and ethics in Wales. The resource was launched at a special professional learning session provided by the St Giles’ Centre on 9 June 2022 for secondary practitioners in Wrexham.
The publication of Exploring worldviews: a stimulus resource for religion, values and ethics in Wales is timely. In the Curriculum for Wales, ‘worldviews’ is listed as one of RVE concepts in the RVE statutory guidance on Hwb, and ‘worldviews’ are also mentioned in the Humanities’ AoLE. In addition, Agored Cymru now has a new suite of qualifications called “Exploring Worldviews”, which uses a worldviews approach to provide for statutory RE or RVE for 14 to 16 year old learners. The St Giles’ Centre and Wrexham practitioners have been instrumental in developing these new qualifications.
The professional learning resource is designed to provide the basic knowledge that practitioners in Wales need to start thinking about worldviews within their own teaching and learning contexts. It also aims to stimulate critical engagement and can be used by individuals or by groups. In whatever way it is used, we hope that the resource will offer a helpful starting point for approaching worldviews in Wales, and we also hope that it is easily accessible to all. So, this means that we have taken care with both presentation and language to try to ensure that both specialist and non-specialist practitioners can access the resource easily and creatively. For those who want to read further, there are also live links to further material.
At the beginning of June, primary and secondary practitioners in Wrexham local authority were given a preview of the new Wrexham Agreed Syllabus for Religion Values and Ethics. The preview was part of two professional learning sessions held by the St Giles’ Centre that were designed to support schools in preparing for the new curriculum.
The Agreed Syllabus will be officially available on the local authority website towards the end of this term.
Meanwhile, a trailer is available for those who could not attend the sessions. The 6-minute video gives a brief background to the process of creating the Agreed Syllabus, and it can viewed on our ‘Support material’ page.