The Department of Religious Studies hosted their successful live panel discussion event, The New Worldview Paradigm in RE: Implications for the Nonreligious?, on Wednesday 2 December.
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?
Panel members included 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). The event was chaired by Dr Chris Deacy (University of Kent).
Event organiser, Dr Lois Lee, Senior Lecturer at the University of Kent’s Department of Religious Studies, commented, “This event brought together leading figures from education, the media and the humanist movement as well as international researchers to discuss one of the most pressing issues of the day — which not only concerns the fate of Religious Education in schools at a once-in-a-generation moment of transition, but also the future of religion and nonreligion in public life in general.”
Andrew Brown has also written up a piece about the event titled, ‘The RE relic needs non-religion to survive‘ for the Religion Media Centre, which provides daily stories for journalists.
You can watch the replay of the live event on YouTube.