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Is RE in Schools a route to stopping the rise in religious hate crime?

RELIGIOUS Education (RE) sometimes seems to be more like an add on than an integral part of what takes place in the classroom. But learning about other faiths and beliefs is key to fostering tolerance in young minds. Suprisingly RE isn't part of the National Curriculum, but it is compulsory in all maintained Primary Schools. Learning about different religions helps to combat religious hate crime that is on the rise. Worryingly CST Antisemitic Incident Report in 2021 reported almost a fourfold increase in antisemitic incidents towards Jewish Schoolchildren.  For the year ending March 2020, Home Office data shows that 50% of all recorded religious hate crime were targeted at people of Muslim faith.  Within education there are often 2 strands of objectives in RE - learning about religion and learning from religion. Being able to compare children's learning to their own experiences is an important skill when learning about religions other than their own. By the end of KS1, children should be able to talk about and suggest meanings behind different beliefs and practices, including:- some religious and moral stories, as well as being able to express their own ideas and opinions. Former Primary School Teacher Emma Shingleton of education resource experts PlanBee has some great ideas that might help children to to talk about both their beliefs and practices as well as others. By the end of KS2, children are-expected to build on this learning by being able to reflect on and respond to the significance of the meanings of these beliefs and practices in addition to expressing their view on why having a faith may be valuable (within this, understanding that those with no faith also have a belief system). Children can be engaged in designing the board, linking it to the RE theme being taught at the time. The board could even be given to a different group of children every half term to keep it updated. What about a small table displaying books and religious artefacts related to the theme / religion? A big question box is also a great addition. A shoe box covered in wrapping paper with a cut out post hole would work fine. Children can be supplied with slips of paper that they can use to write big questions relating to what they are learning about and how it links to their own experiences. These questions can be discussed at the end of the day or saved for a dedicated lesson. For example, religious prayer is a time for reflection. 1 way to ensure RE is embedded in the classroom is to introduce a time each day where children are able to reflect, whether on their learning, how they are feeling or something that happened that day. This could become part of the daily routine. The Teacher might even like to link this to a daily question based on a religious story. These could be provided or thought of by the children.

Rather than thinking of RE as a stand alone subject, it's great if Teachers create links across other subjects to embed the learning further. Some examples:-

  Geography:- link learning about countries to their religions; eg:- the most popular religion in the UK is Christianity closely followed by Islam.

  History:- compare ancient religions to modern religions and how they have evolved and changed.

  English:- share and compare stories from different religions.

  Maths:- make links to religious stories such as calculating how much fish and bread would be needed to feed 5,000 children.

  Science:- when children are learning about animals and life cycles, this can be connected to beliefs about animals in other religions, such as animal symbolism in Hinduism.

  Religious values can be related to School values.

Celebrating religious days... It is important to consider the diversity of the children in the classroom and celebrate a wide range of religious celebrations with them. Some of these could include:

  Islamic festivals such as Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and Ramadan.

  Holidays from Christianity such as Christmas and Easter.

  Hindu festivals such as Diwali and Holi.

  Hanukkah and other religious celebrations from the Jewish faith.

Download these fabulous FREE world religion posters here.  What are your thoughts on Religious Education? Do you think it helps to create tolerance within society or is it a waste of time?  Please email your views to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.

Water dispensers installed at Northern Stations in the North West

THIRSTY customers will soon be able to refill their water bottles across some of Northern's busiest Stations in the North West and cut down on plastic waste.  Water dispensers are set to be installed at 12 of the train operator's Stations across the North West, including:- at Blackburn, Blackpool North, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Victoria and Newton Le Willows.  In total, 32 water dispensers are set to be installed at of the train operator's busiest Stations in the next few weeks, meaning that 45% of the rail operator's Station footfall will be able to take advantage of the new facilities.  The new dispensers have been given the go ahead after a successful trail at Bolton and Castleford Stations. A further 19 will be installed early next year.  Each water dispenser has a hands free sensor and will provide free chilled water.  Customers will be able to see how many times reusable bottles have been refilled thanks to a digital counter.

Chris Jackson, Regional director at Northern, said:- "We want to provide our customers with unlimited free water refills and help them to stay hydrated, cut down on plastic pollution and save money. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and this is a benefit for them and the environment."

Northern is working with key suppliers to reduce carbon emissions from the businesses supply chain as well as become efficient with its resources such as water, energy and fuel.

Water dispenser locations:-

Blackpool North
Bradford Forster Square
Bradford Interchange
Cheadle Hulme
Hazel Grove
Heaton Chapel
Hebden Bridge


Manchester Oxford Road
Manchester Victoria
New Pudsey
Newton Le Willows
Salford Central
Salford Crescent
Warrington Central
Wigan Wallgate

What are your thoughts on this idea? Do you think Merseyrail should do the same? Please email your thoughts to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.

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