Video on Religion, values and ethics (RVE) in the Curriculum for Wales

The St Giles’ Centre has created a free video on RVE in the Curriculum for Wales, which can be viewed on its website.

The 45-minute video is an adaptation of a professional learning session offered by the Centre to all schools in Wrexham on 12 January 2022. Over 90 practitioners from Wrexham attended this online event, and the video is designed to support those who were unable to be present on the day (as well as being a helpful resource to re-visit for those who attended).

Schools in other local authorities may also find the professional learning video helpful.

You can access the video on our Courses page. (Note: Select the HD option to watch the video in ‘high definition’.) There is also a pdf version of the presentation available.

Wrexham Agreed Syllabus Conference discusses statutory RVE guidance and plans for new locally agreed syllabus

On Thursday 13 January, Wrexham Agreed Syllabus Conference (ASC) convened its first meeting to plan for a new locally agreed syllabus for Religion, values and ethics.

Coming just days after the publication of the new statutory Religion, values and ethics guidance on Hwb (10 January), members had the opportunity to discuss the guidance in depth and to set up a working group to take the work of the ASC forward.

The ASC working group has already held its first meeting and another is planned for early February. It is hoped that the new agreed syllabus for Wrexham schools and settings will be completed this spring term, in time for the summer.

If you have any questions about the ASC or agreed syllabus, you can contact Libby Jones, who is RE/RVE advisor for Wrexham local authority.

Statutory Religion, Values and Ethics Guidance (RVE) published on Hwb

The statutory Religion, Values and Ethics Guidance (RVE) was published on Hwb yesterday (10 January 2022). The RVE guidance has been fully integrated into the Curriculum for Wales, and sits within the ‘Designing your Curriculum’ section of the Humanities Area of Learning. Relevant information on RVE and the legislation can be found within the ‘Summary of legislation’ section of the Curriculum for Wales.

Follow the links below to read this essential guidance for all those responsible for designing a curriculum in Wales.

Main RVE guidance

RVE and legislation

St Giles’ Centre offers Wrexham schools professional learning session on RVE in the Curriculum for Wales

macbook pro on brown wooden table

The St Giles’ Centre is offering schools in Wrexham a foundational professional learning session on Religion, Values and Ethics (RVE) in the Curriculum for Wales.

The session is free and will take place on Microsoft Teams on Wednesday, 12 January 2022 at 4pm. It will last around an hour, which will include time for a Q&A session at the end.

If your school is within Wrexham local authority and you are interested in joining this professional learning session, contact us with the name and email address of the member(s) of staff who will be attending by Friday, 17th December. They will then be contacted in January with the invite and resources needed for the session.

What’s happening in Europe?

In the December issue of the ICCS* and IV newsletter (published today), you can read about the latest European developments relevant to religious education, and Church and School.

Some of the short news articles include:

  • A report on the Klingenthal conference about using storytelling to communicate why religion in education matters;
  • An initiative to develop common Christian RE in Lower-Saxony, Germany (Catholic-Protestant co-operation);
  • A European research project on Covid-19 and RE;
  • A project to assess educational programmes against intolerance and discrimination.

The newsletter can be accessed here.

* The Intereuropean Commission on Church and School (ICCS) is a network, created in 1958, which aims to provide a framework for cooperation in monitoring and developing church and school issues in Europe. It brings together representatives and experts from research, practice and policy working on religion and education.

Religion and popular culture, gender, and feminist theology in Challenging Religious Issues

Religion and popular culture, gender, and feminist theology are some of the topics discussed in the journal Challenging Religious Issues (Issue 14). The St Giles’ Centre has recently translated and published the Welsh version of this issue (the English version was published in Autumn 2018).

A summary of the content of the articles is provided below. You can download both Welsh and English versions here.

Atonement: Experience, Story, Theory? by Professor Jeff Astley

The article explores the status of Christian accounts of atonement, including reference to issues of ‘objectivity’ and ‘subjectivity’.

Religion and Popular Culture by Professor Clive Marsh

Helping students to understand how religion ‘and’ popular culture relate raises vexing questions from the start. The ‘and’ implies they are separate, as if popular culture has no religion within it, and that religion is somehow detached from culture. So, it may be assumed that popular culture is ‘secular’ or (even worse) neutral with regard to religion or values. From another angle, popular culture may appear more interesting (or more entertaining) than religion – especially for non-religious students. Or it may be deemed distracting or dangerous to religious students, or to students from religious families who are wrestling with the tension, and sheer difference, between ‘life at home’ and ‘life in school/college’. In this article I offer simple reflections and suggestions for addressing such issues, being convinced that it is crucially important for students to be looking carefully at the relationship – fruitful and constructive as well as tense and sometimes problematic – between these two ‘worlds’.

‘Impersonating Beyonce is Not Your Destiny, Child’: Reflections on Feminist Theology by Dr Hayley Matthews

The article explores the range of Christian theological positions on gender.

Richard Swinburne on the Soul by Professor Jeff Astley

The article summarises Swinburne’s defence of substance dualism, and his account of life after death and personal identity.

Qualified for the future: Reports published on the ‘new generation’ of GCSEs for Wales

Today, four major reports have been published by Qualifications Wales. These form an important part of the on-going process of reviewing and reforming GCSEs in Wales in light of the new Curriculum for Wales.

In response to the public consultation on qualifications for 14- to 16-year-old learners in Wales (27 January – 16 April 2021), the main headline news for the Humanities (including RE/RVE) is that Qualifications Wales:

  • will create new GCSEs in Business, Geography, History, Religious Studies, and Social Studies; but
  • will not create a new GCSE in Humanities.

Qualifications Wales are holding two ‘open to all’ webinar events to present the consultation findings and decisions. (14 October, 15.00-16.00 and 15 October, 11.00-12.00). You can book your place on these webinars here. Recordings of the events will be made available later on the Qualifications Wales website.

What happens next? Qualifications Wales: “The next year of intensive collaboration will deliver proposals by summer 2022 for new qualifications that will be ready for learners in 2025”.

Read in detail the reports on the consultation results and the decisions here.
(Note: Religious Studies is found in the Humanities section of the reports.)

Let’s tell our stories – The positive impact of religion in education (Klingenthal 2021)

St Giles’ Centre staff are looking forward to participating in a special Europe-wide, online interactive event on 21 October 2021 (1-5pm BST).

The Intereuropean Commission on Church and School (ICCS) and the Coordinating Group for Religion in Education in Europe (CoGREE) have created an exciting programme on the theme: ‘Let’s tell our stories – the positive impact of religion in education’.

The event is described as an opportunity to: “identify arguments and narratives, which can demonstrate why religion in education matters. We will learn about communication strategies, the power of storytelling and about how to wrap the identified arguments in an appealing story.”

Dr Werner Hausmann (University Erlangen-Nürnberg) will be presenting on ‘Public religious education’ and Lena Ohm (coach and journalist) on ‘Storytelling – a framework’. Practical engagements through workshops then follow.

‘Let’s tell our stories – the positive impact of religion in education’ was originally planned to be in-person, spanning five days at the beautiful Klingenthal Château, Alsace. Sadly, due to the Pandemic, this has not been possible, but we welcome this online alternative event.

If you want to join this free online event, further information and online registration can be found here. The last day for registration is: 4 October 2021.

Aliens, Christian art, the soul, and implicit religion in Challenging Religious Issues

Aliens, Christian art, the soul, and implicit religion are just some of the topics discussed in the journal Challenging Religious Issues (Issue 16). The St Giles’ Centre has recently translated and published the Welsh version of this issue (the English version was published in Spring 2020).

A summary of the content of the articles is provided below. You can download both Welsh and English versions here.

Aliens: Ecclesiology and 1 Peter by Dr John Holdsworth

1981 saw the beginnings of a new direction in the study of 1 Peter, which hitherto had appeared to have reached an impasse. Sociological studies by Elliott and Goppelt have charted a new way forward that has helped to highlight the theology of 1 Peter, and particularly its ecclesiology, and which have helped redefine ecclesiological study. This has also provided new hermeneutical possibility.

The Nativity and Crucifixion in Christian Art: Encounter, Interpretation and Devotion by Dr Bridget Nichols

The article discusses the role of Christian art in forming Christian identity and devotional patterns, focusing on the birth of Christ and his crucifixion.

Mind, Brain and the Unifying Soul by Dr Mark Graves

The article presents an overview of the historical development of the concept of the soul in Western philosophy and theology, and in the context of current scientific perspectives.

Implicit Religion: A New Approach to the Study of Religion? by Dr Francis Stewart

The article argues that one change brought to the study of religion by the development and ultimate failure of the secularisation thesis was a new approach that sought to answer the question, ‘What is secular religion?’ This approach was Implicit Religion, whose origin, nature and significance are discussed here.

The Ineffable Mystery of God? by Professor Jeff Astley

The article explores the concepts of God’s ineffability, transcendence and mystery, with particular reference to religious experience and religious language.

Made in the Image of God: Experiences of a Woman with Disability in Nigeria by Jessie Fubara-Manuel and Elijah Obinna

This article discusses the Christian affirmation that humanity (with or without disabilities) is made in the image of God. For persons with disabilities (PWDs), this assertion is assuring and could provide basis for society’s collective journey towards equality, dignity and justice for all persons.

English (UK)