Professional religious education associations
There are many professional associations dedicated to the provision of high quality RE in English schools. The details of these associations are listed in the RE Directory (www.theredirectory.org.uk). Associations include:
National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE)
National Association of Teachers of RE (www.natre.org.uk) NATRE is the subject teacher association for RE professionals in primary and secondary schools and higher education, providing a focal point for their concerns, a representative voice at national level and publications and courses to promote professional development. NATRE works to address the real concerns of RE teachers in all schools and institutions.
NATRE works through its Executive and Executive Officer
- to publish REsource, its professional journal ;
- to run courses for RE teachers;
- to offer support to local RE teachers’ groups;
- to keep this website up to date with news and downloadable resources for RE teachers;
- to monitor government action and inaction with regard to RE and to respond to consultation papers;
- to press the case for more time, staff, training and money for RE.
NATRE members number around 2,500 including students, primary RE co-ordinators, and subject specialists in secondary schools. They receive REtoday, Resource and the BJRE each term, and are entitled to discounts on courses and RE Today publications. They may nominate members for the Executive or stand for office themselves.
Association of RE Inspectors, Advisers and Consultants (AREIAC)
Association of RE Inspectors, Advisers and Consultants (www.areiac.org.uk) AREIAC is the professional association for Religious Education inspectors, advisers and consultants. It provides support for its members through an annual conference, regular newsletters and regional group meetings.
The Association is a national network which supports and represents colleagues with qualified teacher status who:
- inspect religious education and collective worship;
- advise SACREs, LEAs, schools, colleges and individual teachers, in the exercise of their statutory duties in relation to religious education and collective worship. AREIAC seeks to promote:
- the equal status of religious education with the core and foundation subjects of the National Curriculum;
- the contribution of religious education and collective worship to pupils' spiritual and moral development;
- a high quality of teaching and learning in religious education for all pupils;
- opportunities for pupils to study world religions, including Christianity;
- opportunities for pupils to develop their own beliefs and values, and to respect the rights of others to have different beliefs and values;
- a curriculum which challenges disadvantages and inequalities;
- collective worship as an educational activity which protects and affirms the integrity of all those taking part;
- links with national and faith communities to advance the aims of religious education and collective worship in schools.
Association of University Lecturers in Religion and Education (AULRE)
Association of University Lecturers in Religion and Education (www.aulre.org.uk) The Association of University Lecturers in Religion and Education in the United Kingdom was established in September 2002 at a meeting held at King's College London. AULRE:UK was formed from the merger of two long-established professional organisations: the Conferences of University Lecturers in Religious Education (CULRE), and the NATFHE Religious Studies Section.
AULRE:UK exists to support the community of academics in the United Kingdom researching and teaching at the interface of religion and education AULRE:UK is concerned with all aspects of the interface of religion and education, including:
- links between the academic study of religion and religious education;
- religious education in school;
- learning and teaching in theology and religious studies in colleges and universities;
- the professional development of teachers of religious education;
- religious development in faith communities;
- the enhancement of public knowledge and understanding of religion and religious education.
National Association of SACRE (NASACRE)
The National Association of Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (www.nasacre.org.uk) aims to:
- assist SACREs to fulfil their responsibilities;
- represent their common concerns to other bodies;
- assist in the training and mutual consultation of SACRE members;
- encourage the development of the SACREs;
- undertake such other activities, appropriate to SACREs, as may benefit RE and collective worship.
The Shap Working Party on Education in Religions
Shap is not an acronym, it is the name of a village in Cumbria. In the spring of 1969 a conference on ‘Comparative Religion in Education’ was held at a hotel in Shap. Arising out of that conference came the decision by the participants to set-up a working party to campaign for and support the development of teaching about the World’s Religions in schools and other educational settings.
Few of the participants of that 1969 conference are still with us. But over the years new colleagues have been invited to join the working party such that it has always maintained about 35 active members, each invited to join in an individual capacity and asked to continue the work started by the founders. Shap members produce, in different formats, an annual calendar detailing the festival dates of many world religions.
Shap produces an annual Journal, much-loved and widely read by those professionally involved in the fields of religious studies and religious education. The Shap advisory service offers free information about all aspects of religion. A recent innovation is the audio glossary, which offers a definition of many of the words that crop up in the study of religions, and also the opportunity to hear the word pronounced by a speaker from the relevant religious tradition.
The Religious Education Council (REC)
All major faith communities and professional RE associations are members of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) (www.religiouseducationcouncil.org). This body acts as an umbrella group to represent the diverse groups and interests of the subject, and works in partnership with the DfE. Members include academic and professional associations, along with the main faith communities of faith found in the UK.
In addition to Christian denominations, these include Baha’is, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians and the British Humanist Association.