'Looking Forward: Considering the Future of Religious Education' - Interfaith dialogue event
New Hope Birmingham arranged an interfaith dialogue hosted by Gisela Stuart MP, Edgbaston in the House of Parliament on Religious Education. Faith leaders, teachers and MPs came together to discuss the problems that R.E. currently faces, and the challenges R.E. will face in the future.
This event was inspired by local interfaith dialogue that the charity New Hope Birmingham organised in the local area of Aston, which had a recurring theme of the role of Religious Education. New Hope decided to extend the dialogue beyond Birmingham to a larger, more national discussion of how Religious Education can be improved and developed.
The panel had religious delegates, such as Juber Hussain, From the London Muslim Centre, Lady Singh, from the Network of Sikh Organisations, Jay Lakhani, from the Hindu Council, Rabbi David Meyer, from Partnership of Jewish Schools, Derek Holloway, from the Church of England Education services, Jay Harman, from the British Humanist Association, Steven Evans, from the Secularist society, Philip Robinson, from the Catholic Education Service and Jo Backus, from the Network of Buddhist Organisation.
Key to furthering the panel were Dr Sarah Hall, a lecturer and teacher trainer at the University of Birmingham, Ruth Wells, an R.E. teacher, Leslie Prior, lecturer of Religious Education at the University of Roehampton, David Worden, the R.E. AQA chief examiner, Mark Chater, the Director of the Culham St. Gabriels Trust, Miriam Waseem, a trustee of Youth Voice, Catherine Mckinnel, Labour MP for Newcastle North, Rudolf Elliot Lockhart, Chief Executive officer from the Religious Council of England and Wales and Beverly J Brooks MBE, Director Brooks Charity Solutions.
The panel led a moderated debate around central issues to Religious Education. These ranged from the role of faith schools in our education systems to keeping students engaged in R.E., and embracing variety in faiths during lessons at school.
The event was developed by questions raised by students from local schools, who drove the curriculum issues they believed to be most significant. They also raised questions surrounding how teachers could effectively teach different faiths, and whether we should focus on doctrine led teaching, or on traditions and how religions impact life.
This event reiterates the importance of local and regional interfaith dialogues, and the importance of R.E. to broader community cohesion and interfaith work.
Finally, at the end of this Seminar, Mr Mohammed Foiz Uddin MBE thanked everyone that attended from various cities including staff and volunteers who had worked extremely hard to make this event a success and he hoped to continue this every year.
New Hope would like to thank the following organisations for their support: Barrow Cadbury Trust, Heart of England, Near Neighbours, Awards for All and BBC Children in Need.
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Joanna & Katherine presenting the Interfaith event