Believing and Belonging

A new Religious Education syllabus has been launched for schools across Calderdale and most of West Yorkshire, to help boost young people’s understanding of diversity, empathy and cohesion.

In the UK, all schools, academies and free schools must teach RE to students from age 5 to 18, covering world faiths.

There is no national curriculum for RE, so teaching content is agreed locally by Standing Advisory Councils on RE (SACREs) and updated every five years. In Calderdale, the SACRE is made up of teachers, councillors and representatives from local faith communities.

The Mayor of Calderdale, Cllr Dot Foster; the Chair of SACRE, Rev John Hellewell; Carol Waters, Kirklees Chair of SACRE; and Lesley Bowyer, Senior School Effectiveness Officer launched the new ‘Believing and Belonging’ RE syllabus for Calderdale, Kirklees and Leeds at a training event for teachers at the Shay Stadium, Halifax, on Tuesday 11 June.

Cllr Adam Wilkinson, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, said:

“We want all young people to have the best start in life. Religious education helps prepare pupils for their future, for employment and lifelong learning, and supports their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. We are proud of Calderdale’s rich diversity, and the new RE syllabus will help to nurture mutual respect, empathy and kindness in our schools and local communities.”

Calderdale-based Pennine Learning, which advises the three participating West Yorkshire councils, created the new ‘Believing and Belonging’ syllabus, following consultation with schools and faith communities across all three areas.

The syllabus aims to develop pupils’ understanding of world faiths and other non-religious beliefs on their own journey through life, and to nurture sensitivity and awareness of diversity. This supports one of the key themes of the Vision2024 for Calderdale – kindness – helping to create a place where people care for each other regardless of who they are.

‘Believing and Belonging’ is statutory for local authority schools, which have all received a copy of the syllabus and have access to free training and resources. Academies and faith schools may follow another syllabus, but they must still teach RE.

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