News Release

Religious Education Council of England and Wales gains a new voice

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the UK gained membership of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales at their Annual General Meeting on 3rd May 2012. The RE Council represents “the collective interests of a wide variety of professional associations and faith communities in deepening and strengthening provision for Religious Education.” The Church is one of the newest voices in the council but will have much to offer this multi-faith organisation.

The RE Council’s AGM was held at Al-Khoei Islamic Centre in London. The Church was represented at this meeting by James Holt of the UK National Public Affairs Council. James was a secondary school RE teacher for many years, and now lectures in Religious Education at the University of Chester. The day was filled with presentations surrounding the place of RE in state schools. Over the last year there has been a lot of unrest in the RE world about various changes in the English Baccalaureate and Academy Schools which could be seen to lessen the value of RE. Nick Gibb (Minister of State for Schools) sought to calm these fears by assuring members that religious education is “like a Rosetta stone that can be used to understand other subjects”. Ed Pawson, Chair of the National Association of RE teachers, extended this analogy to including the ability to understand other people. Mr Gibb further reiterated the Government’s commitment that all schools should offer good quality RE provision.

Members of the RE Council board and other members were effusive in their welcome to the Church as members, and were excited that the Church in the UK wanted to become involved in the RE world. For many years individual Church members have represented the Church on local RE organisations such as SACREs (Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education), but this is a major step in giving the Church a voice in the way that policy regarding Religious Education is formed, and enables links to be made with other faith and educational groups.

Professor Denise Cush highlighted the Church as an example of faiths that may not be taught about in classrooms, but have much to offer. James Holt has done a lot of work in this area, and members of the Church are encouraged to offer their experience and expertise in developing resources to help this teaching through the LDS Teacher Network that has been established on Facebook and has its own website.

RE London

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