Tagged: Commission Structures RE
Firstly, I want to deal with the issue of ‘The purpose of RE’. It is an issue that has haunted the subject for decades. I am not sure that the commission would be best served rehearsing this debate again. In fact, following this avenue could lead to the commission wasting a great deal of time and money. I say this because there seems within the RE community to be a deep misconception. It manifests itself in the belief that RE can be atomised into one solitary, clear purpose. It stems from a limited understanding of process management and quality outcomes. Ironically in a subject which enjoys its independence and devolution there is a collective need to focus on this elusive ‘purpose’. This follows a particularly Taylorist idea of what constitutes the educationalist process; with one clearly defined outcome that can be put into a box.
My suggestion would be rather to look for one clear vision statement for RE. It may appear a bit more management speak but I don’t think this is the moment for nebulous thinking. If you can work to a ‘Vision, mission, strategy’ model then it will allow for a clearer pathway forward and a better approach for any change that may be needed. The purpose then becomes part of the mission layer and allows for the greater plurality we need to have across the subject, i.e. local/national, world religions, non-religious world views etc. People can buy into an inclusive vision and then make the mission and strategy their own. Thus you have a greater shared vision (let us not fool ourselves that everybody will buy into this) which people have room to adapt to not at a local level but at a school and classroom level; true localism.
I would like to make one last point. In my MA in Ed management I spent a great deal of time looking at education management processes and my thesis was surrounding the Birmingham Trojan Horse affair. What clearly came out of that was the governance of education, in general, is in a desperate state. That is not a party political statement, simply an opinion borne out from my observation of many different reports and papers. With the new announcements on academisation, for RE in particular, it is only going to get worse. LEAs will become largely redundant in the strategic oversight of schools and with it most of RE’s mechanisms. I don’t want to prejudge any report, however, the infrastructure of the governance of RE in state schools, whether we like it or not, is simply ceasing to be. This is an existential crisis. If the commission spends all its energy on the ethereal questions of purpose and does not address the fundamental issue of the structures of RE then it is going to fail the most important people in all this, firstly the students and then the teachers on the ground.
As you can probably imagine I could go on but I don’t want everybody to feel I am ranting. I am, as are so many people involved in RE, deeply passionate about the whole issue and simply want us to have a robust, respectful and most of all kindly debate. I understand that solutions will be the hard part, not finding challenges. Together we can plot a successful course through all of these issues.
Doug, this is a really interesting approach. I’d be interested in hearing other ideas on this. Also, interestingly the RE Council commission talks more of purposes (plural)…
Here, rather late, is what I submitted to the commission: http://bit.ly/2tImrQH//
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