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Thought For The Week - 29-04-24

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Around 10 days ago, Ofsted published the long-awaited RE subject report, Deep and Meaningful? The content of the report answered that question with a resounding ‘no’. For those of us working in the field, the report made difficult reading, not least because inspectors found much of the same poor practice they identified a decade ago.

However, it is worth noting that the subject report addresses practice across England; it doesn’t follow that this is what we see in our region. Indeed, I was particularly thrilled to note that one of our schools was mentioned as an example of good practice. I was also reassured to see that many of the 50 RE teachers and leaders who attended our most recent RE cluster meeting felt confident that their RE curriculum reflects what Ofsted are looking for.

RE is often described as the ‘Cinderella subject’ on the curriculum. It can be weighted with too much or too little significance, and its archaic legal structures can lead to significant confusion for school leaders. However, RE done well can prepare our children and young people to engage with knowledge, openness, curiosity and respect in a complex and diverse world. This includes understanding the right sorts of questions to ask about religion and worldviews, and the appropriate tools to use when answering these questions. It also means engaging with the role context plays in shaping the lived reality of religion and belief: recognising that there is not ‘one way’ of being Christian, Muslim, Hindu, non-religious and so on. Getting the RE curriculum right can empower our pupils to become more critically aware of their own worldview and the ways in which it influences how they engage in and with the world around them. It can help them understand that we are all interpreters of the world around us, including when we tackle life’s big questions of meaning and purpose.

No RE teacher can achieve this in isolation. They need the support of their school leaders (including governors) and their colleagues. They also need the opportunity to engage with colleagues across different schools and academies, as well as with appropriate professional development. One of the greatest privileges of my job is empowering future leaders of RE. Of the teachers I have worked alongside most recently, several have joined the Executive Committee of the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE), one has started a PhD, several hold advisory roles in MATs, local authorities and the Diocese, and some have participated in various action research projects at a national level. It is an exciting time to be an RE teacher in the Diocese of Lincoln!

We would like to continue to support your RE leaders and teachers to flourish so that your RE curriculum is appropriately “deep and meaningful” and your pupils are well-prepared to engage in a respectful and open society. You can find out more about our professional development opportunities for RE leaders and teachers here. We would also love to invite you to our RE conference, which takes place on the 25th June in Lincoln. You can find out more about this here. As ever, if you have any questions or would like to explore further bespoke support, please contact me at

It just remains for me to say a huge thank you to all the incredible school leaders and teachers that are committed to providing and delivering high quality RE. I am enormously grateful for your time, energy and enthusiasm!

from Gillian Georgiou, RE & SIAMS Adviser

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