Theological literacy boosted by new Christianity resource for schools

Teaching of Christianity in schools is set to be transformed by a new resource from the Church of England, launched today. Understanding Christianity is a set of comprehensive materials and training which will enable pupils from age 4 to 14 to develop their understanding of Christianity, as a contribution to making sense of the world and their own experience within it.

Available to all schools across the country the resource was written by a team of RE advisers from RE Today Services, in collaboration with more than 30 expert teachers and academics, and has been trialled in over 50 schools. 
Understanding Christianity was commissioned by the Church of England Education Office with the generous support of Culham St Gabriels, The Sir Halley Stewart Trust, the Jerusalem Trust and an anonymous donor.
The Revd Nigel Genders, Chief Education Officer for The Church of England, said: ‘RE is primarily about teaching religious literacy. The ability for young people to have informed conversation and dialogue about belief and faith is key to building a peaceful society and helps combat ignorance and extremism. We recognise that within the rich Christian heritage of Britain, a particular responsibility of the Church of England is to ensure Christianity is well taught in our schools. This large-scale resource promotes theological literacy and a deep understanding of the whole Christian narrative for children and young people.’
Understanding Christianity will not be available in the shops. Accredited trainers will train teachers to use the resource in their own setting. The project also comes with up to 15 hours of professional development support. 
Over 800 teachers and staff have signed up for training in Understanding Christianity in one diocese alone. Jane Chipperton, Adviser for RE and Worship at the Diocese of St Albans which covers Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and part of north London said: ‘Our teachers are hugely excited about this resource. Over 100 schools have signed up for training, mostly on inset days. Some schools have sent their whole staff to be trained. I have never had such a positive response to one initiative.’
David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity Emeritus atCambridge University and consultant on the project said: “This resource manages to interconnect the text of the Bible, the beliefs and practices of Christians, and the world of the pupils — a remarkable achievement. It is demanding on teachers and pupils, yet both are also given rich materials to resource them, with pointers to much more. The promise is of a richer, deeper, wiser understanding of Christianity for both Christians and non-Christians, and an attractive mode of exploration and learning for both pupils and teachers.'
Diocesan Education Officer for Exeter Diocese, Tatiana Wilson, who trialled the resource in four schools said: ‘As an RE specialist I am convinced that this resource will have a significant impact on the quality of RE taught in church and community schools. We are working in partnership with Learn Teach Lead RE to help roll the resource out across our region in the coming year in collaboration with our other partners.’
Stephen Pett, RE Today Adviser and editor of Understanding Christianity, said: ‘The intention of these resources is to support and equip teachers of RE in their lessons. The resources offer an approach that can be applied in any RE classroom, with a wide range of classroom ideas and materials to help develop pupils’ understanding of Christian belief and practice, as part of their wider studies in RE.’

National C of E news Releases
Webpage icon London churches to help the capital bee greener
Webpage icon A prayer for all students awaiting their exam results
Webpage icon Discussion Paper on Welfare
Webpage icon New plans to expand network of support on money and debt
Webpage icon Church Commissioners announce total 2015 return on investments at 8.2%
Webpage icon HM Duke of Edinburgh joins celebration of 150 years of Reader ministry
Webpage icon Government’s English Churches and Cathedrals Sustainability Review welcomed by
Webpage icon CofE senior manager recognised in two national LGBT awards
Webpage icon Prayers for HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday published
Webpage icon National C of E news Releases
Webpage icon 22 cathedrals benefit from First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund
Webpage icon Rap song released highlights the dangers of pay-day industry “Grooming young p
Webpage icon BNP and National Front incompatible with teaching of Church
Webpage icon New building licence to help churches remove bats
Webpage icon Church of England launches new Church Legacy website
Webpage icon Bishops Welcome Participant Observers to First Meeting
Webpage icon Church boosts digital presence with new app
Webpage icon Scheme launched for would-be young vicars
Webpage icon Prayers for November 2013 General Synod
Webpage icon Women in the Episcopate: Statement from the Archbishops
Webpage icon Archbishop Justin meets Pope Francis in Rome
Webpage icon London Beyond Sight – the capital’s churches inspire
Webpage icon New-look Reflections app takes Mark the Evangelist’s message to new audience
Webpage icon Girlguiding should keep God in its Promise and provide space for young to explor
Webpage icon Vicar of St George’s Church, Baghdad: no better time than Lent to reflect

Copyright 2015 © The Diocese of Rochester. Registered Office: St Nicholas’ Church, Boley Hill, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1SL. Registered Charity No. 249339 The Rochester Diocesan Society and Board of Finance is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No. 140656