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Embedding Attitudes to Religious Diversity Research Findings in the School Curriculum

Background

Research conducted within the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU) on Young People’s Attitudes to Religious Diversity (AHRC Reference AH/G014035/1) led to collaboration with an independent charitable foundation in Wales concerned with supporting religious education to generate curriculum resources for Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 students (St Mary’s Centre, Registered Charity Number 1141117). Two sets of curriculum resources are currently available on open access to promote young students’ understanding of religious diversity at:

http://www.st-marys-centre.org.uk/resources/Exploring%20Why.html

http://www.st-marys-centre.org.uk/resources/Exploring%20Our%20World.html

Delivering Impact

The close connection between the research and the curriculum development was celebrated through a public launch at Coventry Cathedral in 24 January 2017 (funded by Warwick Public Engagement Fund). The Bishop of Manchester (The Right Revd. Dr David Walker) spoke at the event to launch both the major book of the research:

  • Young people’s attitudes to religious diversity (Routledge) and the two curriculum series of books and on-line resources:
  • Exploring Why (Bear Lands Publishing)
  • Exploring our World (Bear Lands Publishing)

The launch attracted:

  • academics concerned with the field of research
  • religious leaders (across faith traditions)
  • national and religious leaders concerned with religious education
  • classroom practitioners.

The resources have been promoted in Wales by the Welsh Government Hwb concerned with educational resources: https://hwb.gov.wales

Project aims

The aim of the current project is to build on these foundations in two key ways:

  • to make more explicit the connections between the research conducted in Warwick and the curriculum resources
  • to embed the resources effectively within schools in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Working with the curriculum resources already available, the project will enable links to be consolidated with providers of religious education (initially in England) through the major stakeholders, including:

  • churches and faith communities
  • charitable foundations supporting religious education
  • statutory provision of SACREs (Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education)
  • relevant advisory services
  • professional associations
  • primary schools.

The current generation of curriculum resources are part of a project scope that is being planned for further evolution, both in terms of developing additional materials from the existing research, and generating academic research.

Interactive Website Development

Our first aim is to build a website that is designed specifically for schools to access and utilize the resources, plan classes/activities and have a mechanism to give feedback/upload photos & testimonies on how they have engaged with the resources. This website went live in January 2019.

Implementation in Schools

Our second aim is to drive awareness of the resources on the website and encourage use within schools:

  • making contacts with the appropriate influencers within
    • SACREs
    • Advisory services
    • Denominations
    • Faith Communities
    • Charities
  • Direct contact with schools