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WRERU Latest News

Publication of new book including Warwick authors

Professor Leslie J. Francis, Director of WRERU and Dr Gareth Byrne, Director of the Mater Dei Centre for Catholic Education (MDCCE) at Dublin City University, launched their latest publication ‘Religion and Education: The voices of young people in Ireland’ at the recent Network for Researchers in Catholic Education Annual Conference held in Dublin City University, 17-18 October 2019. This exciting publication reflects on important research conducted with young people in Ireland, North and South, illuminating their experience of religion and religious education. Recording and analysing the attitudes of 13 to 19-year-olds to religion, beliefs, values and diversity, these wide-ranging the studies provide insight into the contexts within which religious education takes place in Ireland today, and how it can help young people address what is significant for them spiritually and morally.

The contributing authors are Jeff Astley, Gareth Byrne, Sandra Cullen, Leslie J. Francis, Christopher Alan Lewis, Ursula McKenna, Andrew G. McGrady, Bernadette Sweetman and Kevin Williams.

Book cover

Dr Abdullah Sahin, Reader in Islamic Education, reflects on New Zealand's decision to broadcast the call to prayer across the whole country in response to the attack on its Muslim community.

Launch of the Student Voice Project in the Republic of Ireland

Revd Canon Professor Leslie J. Francis and Dr David Lankshear attended University College Dublin, 29 February to 2 March 2019 where they were joined by Mary Mitchell-O'Connor, Minister of State for Higher Education at the launch of the Student Voice Project for Anglican primary schools in the Republic of Ireland.

Student Voice Conference

(Dr David Lankshear, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Professor Leslie J. Francis)

FREE access to online resources for use in Early Years/Primary Schools

A new Warwick website gives free access to two series of books Exploring Why and Exploring Our World that were developed by staff in WRERU at the University of Warwick in collaboration with the St Mary’s Centre, Wales. Each story in both the Exploring Why and Exploring Our World series has five different formats of resources associated with it (a short story; an extended story; a pictures only book; a key questions book; and activity sheets and ideas for further learning).

The curriculum materials can be directly accessed at:

Further information on the wider research and the project team can be accessed at:

The 3rd Warwick Islamic Education Summer School took place 03-05 September 2018.

The Annual CES/WRERU Islamic Education Summer Schools facilitate formation of a thriving international learning community. Read more about this event.

Bid funding success

WRERU Staff within the Centre for Education Studies (CES) have recently been successful in securing funds for two new projects.

Leslie Francis, Davis Lankshear and Ursula McKenna have received funding from the Warwick Impact Fund for the project, ‘Assessing the impact on policy and performance of the Student Voice Project: A three-year research programme among year-five and year-six students in Anglican primary schools in Wales’, which started 1 April 2018.

Leslie Francis, Tania ap Sion and Ursula McKenna have received support from the Warwick Ventures Fund for the project, ‘Embedding attitudes to religious diversity research findings in the school curriculum’ which started 1 May 2018. See for an article announcing the award.

Conference on theological education

Professor Leslie J Francis was an invited speaker, at the conference on theological education, held week beginning 6 November 2017 in Larnaca, Cyprus, and organised by the Venerable Professor John Holdsworth from the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf. Professor Francis is pictured here with Professor Holdsworth and with Dr Rick Singleton, Vice Chancellor of Queen's College Newfoundland, where he holds a visiting position.

Leslie Francis Cyprus November 2017

Professor Francis was drawing out the implications of his research into theological education and formation for re-shaping the way in which clergy are trained.

Video of the award of Honorary Doctorates to Prof Linda Woodhead and Prof Robert Jackson at the Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo, 21 October 2017 (see:

WRERU Presentations at the Religious Research Association Conference, Washington DC, Sunday15th October 2017

Tania ap Sion, David W Lankshear and Leslie J Francis presented three stands of their WRERU research to an audience concerned with applying research findings for the ongoing professional education of church leaders

Tania drew out the educational implications of research into the prayer spaces developed in churches. David drew out the educational implications of research into the faith trajectory of churchgoers in their seventies and eighties. Leslie drew out the educational implications of research into work-related psychological wellbeing for church leaders themselves.

The audience included national officers from mainline American denominations concerned with the applying research to church practice. They are members of the Religious Research Association.

New publication: Lessons in spiritual development. Learning from leading Christian-ethos secondary schools by Dr Ann Casson, Professor Trevor Cooling and Professor Leslie Francis

This publication arises from a two-year research project (2014-16) set up by the National Institute of Christian Education Research (NICER) at Canterbury Christ Church University, working in association with Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU) at the University of Warwick.

Celebrating Religious Diversity in the UK: Listening to and Resourcing Young People: Launch of New Book & New Curriculum Resources on Young People & Religious Diversity

On 24 January 2016, WRERU held an event in Coventry Cathedral to launch a new book—Young People’s Attitudes to Religious Diversity (Elisabeth Arweck. ed., Routledge 2017, and new curriculum resources for primary school pupils—Exploring Why (Tania ap Siôn, Bear Lands Publishing,

The launch event was a major public engagement event, organised in collaboration between WRERU, staff in the Peace and Reconciliation Ministry of Coventry Cathedral, and the St Mary Centre, Wales. It sought to broaden the pathway for further dialogue and common initiatives between WRERU and Cathedral staff and local religious communities.

The event attracted a substantial audience comprising academic and non-academic stakeholders concerned with religious education and religious diversity, from a number of religious and worldview backgrounds.

The programme consisted of a welcome address by the Dean of Coventry Cathedral, The Very Reverend John Witcombe and presentations (by Prof. Robert Jackson, Dr Elisabeth Arweck, Prof. Leslie Francis, and Dr Tania ap Siôn) about the book and the curriculum resources as well as responses to both publications from a Christian (Dr David Walker, Bishop of Manchester) and Muslim perspective Dr Abdullah Sahin, WRERU).



The event also provided opportunities for those present to network with and get to know each other, with a view to exploring avenues for possible future collaboration. The event was financially supported by the University of Warwick’s Public Engagement Fund.

The book reports data from focus groups interviews and a detailed survey involving nearly 12,000 young people from across the four nations of the UK. The research was sponsored by two major Research Councils (AHRC and ESRC) as part of the Religion and Society programme.

The findings from this research have been used to inform the new curriculum resources, introducing pupils to the religious diversity within the communities around them. The two new series, sponsored by the Welsh Government, comprise 13 books, and online resources published in both English and Welsh.

New publication: Young People's Attitudes to Religious Diversity(PDF Document), edited by Elisabeth Arweck

Exploring Faith(s) in Post-Secular Societies: A Forum for Public Engagement with Religion

A one-day public engagement event organised by Dr James Hodkinson from the School of Modern Languages and Cultures and Dr Elisabeth Arweck from the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU) in the Centre of Education Studies (CES) at Warwick took place on 18 May 2016 at the Scarman Conference Centre.

Research Co-operation


Professor Francisco Vargas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile, visiting Professors Leslie Francis and Robert Jackson at Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit on 16 February 2015 to discuss research co-operation.

Warwick–Monash Alliance: Second Workshop of CES and Monash Staff

The second of two workshops involving staff from the Centre of Education Studies (CES) at Warwick and staff from Monash University took place 2–4 February 2015 at the Monash Conference Centre in Melbourne, Australia. The participants included Prof. Mary Lou Rasmussen and Prof. Gary Bouma from Monash University and Prof. Robert Jackson and Dr Elisabeth Arweck from the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU) as well as Dr Anna Halafoff and Dr Andrew Singleton from Deakin University at Melbourne. The purpose of the workshop was twofold: to continue work on a grant proposal for the Australian Research Council and to meet with colleagues and stakeholders to discuss diverse worldviews education and social inclusion in the context of education about religions and beliefs in Australian schools. A component of the workshop was a presentation by Prof. Jackson on Signposts, a document he authored on policy and practice for teaching about religions and non-religious worldviews in intercultural education across European countries, published by the Council of Europe in 2014. The workshop is financially supported by the Warwick–Monash Alliance Seed fund which is designed to facilitate the development of joint research and educational collaboration between Monash University and the University of Warwick.


Dr Anna Halafoff (Deakin), Prof Gary Bouma (Monash), Dr Elisabeth Arweck (Warwick)


Professor Robert Jackson speaks at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, 4th February 2015, about his new book for the Council of Europe, 'Signposts' . The audience included policy makers, academics and members of inter faith and humanist groups from different parts of Australia.

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