The New Worldview Paradigm in RE: Implications for the Nonreligious?

Panel discussion with Professor Trevor Cooling (Canterbury Christ Church University and Religious Education Council of England and Wales), Dr Ruth Wareham (Humanists UK) and Dr Lois Lee (University of Kent). Chaired by Dr Chris Deacy (University of Kent).

Across the United Kingdom, Religious Education is subject to its most thorough-going review in a generation, with proposed reforms described as a paradigm change for the sector (Cooling et al 2020). Amongst other issues, proposals offered by the Commission on Religious Education in England and Wales and by the Welsh Government respond explicitly to the growing number of people who identify as nonreligious: What could this new approach to Religious Education mean for them? Their recommendations take better account of nonreligious perspectives than ever before. But is it right to assume that these proposed changes to RE are a straightforward “victory” for those that have called for better representation of nonreligion in the RE classroom? Does implementation of these proposals – already underway in some schools – mean that religious and nonreligious worldviews exist on a level playing field? 

Join us for a panel discussion focusing attention on what a worldview approach to RE means in relation to the nonreligious. 


  • Trevor Cooling is an emeritus professor in Education at Canterbury Christ Church University and Chair of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales. 
  • Ruth Wareham is Education Campaigns Manager at Humanists UK. Between 2016 and 2018 she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the Faith Schooling: Principles and Policies Project at the University of Warwick and she has a PhD in the philosophy of education from the University of Birmingham. Her doctoral thesis focused on the moral permissibility of religious schools in liberal democracies. 
  • Lois Lee is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Kent and Principal Investigator on the Understanding Unbelief research programme. Her research explores nonreligious identity, experience and worldviews, and her books include Recognizing the Non-religious: Reimagining the Secular (OUP).

    You can find out more about proposed changes to RE in the 2020 THEOS report, Worldviews in Education, by Trevor Cooling, with Bob Bowie and Farid Panjwani.

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    Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 953 4245 0126 / Passcode: 506010