It is over two years since I finished working with the Peterborough Diocesan Board of Education where my work was particularly to advocate on behalf of and to work with others in making provision for worship in school assemblies and Religious Education in the classroom. Both Collective Worship and RE are compulsory in all maintained schools and, when done well, I think make a tremendous contribution to children’s learning and to their spiritual development.
We have two Primary Schools in our Benefice and both take the provision of Collective Worship and RE very seriously. I enjoy regularly contributing to school assemblies, trying to find ways in which the Christian tradition and bible stories in particular can speak to the lives of children today and help them to make meaning of the world in which they are growing up. Common values, respect for the views of others and to consider life as more than just the day to day with a wider perspective that can be motivated by the living out of faith based values. In both schools there are themes such as courage, justice and hope that provide the framework for the daily focus of school assemblies.
We are also asked to contribute to RE lessons and groups of children regularly visit the Churches. I remember the wonderful discussion when we hot-seated an empty chair with all the questions the children wanted to ask if God was sitting in that chair.
The County RE Syllabus, in line with statutory requirements, includes the teaching about Christianity in every year group, the learning about 5 other major world faiths, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Buddhism, before children reach the age of fourteen and considers also the perspective of those who do not have a religious faith, including a humanist perspective. I believe the background of this good RE gives children important skills and knowledge and a wider understanding in preparation for their adult lives in our complex and changing world.