What have Universities ever done for us?

What have Universities ever done for us? Why RE teachers might want to explore the support their local HE institution can offer

With news that the future of Theology and Religious Studies has yet again come under threat at an esteemed University [link], it has been so heartening to see the flood of support come in from schools and colleges across the country for the subject, department and staff. It is a reminder of the continuing strength and encouragement of the RE community, but also of the value teachers place on our subject in Higher Education. Well, I would like to tell you the feeling is mutual. Colleagues working in the University sector recognise the invaluable role teachers play in preparing students to study at this level, and often the passion they have instilled in students for religious education. I have lost count of the times students have attributed their love for the subject to their RE teacher at school (and they often say they want to be a teacher just like you!). So the links between schools and Universities are well established in the RE world, but I would like to encourage or remind you why you might want to engage further with your local HE institution. These are examples of what we at the University of Worcester can offer:

  • We have experts in RE across all phrases of education, from EYFS upwards. Teacher Training in Primary, Secondary and Further Education is our raison d’être so we are in a good place to provide support on matters of learning and teaching.
  • University staff are conducting the most up to date research and as research-driven pedagogies drive our teaching we are in a good place to see what new thinking, ideas and strategies are coming through literature – we are also not afraid to question these!
  • We have strong links with NATRE, local schools, places of worship and interfaith forums in the aim of strengthening the work of RE departments in our local schools. We run a NATRE/UW RE Hub which meets termly to discuss relevant topics (e.g. most recently faith and sexuality) and provide CPD (e.g. the launch of the Locally Agreed Syllabus). These are very well attended, and the generosity, kindness and collaboration of attendees is inspiring.

You will likely find a more than willing Religious Studies/Theology department at your local University, but you are also welcome to contact me, Rebecca Davidge at r.davidge@worc.ac.uk


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