An NQT’s First Time at Strictly RE – Megan Young

Having heard so many promising comments about Strictly RE through social media, I was delighted to attend this year as an NQT. I was looking forward to experiencing the spirit of comradery and receiving some fresh inspiration and practical ideas to take back to my school.

In the first keynote Dr. Kathryn Wright opened our eyes to see the treasures that exist in our local school communities and challenged us to consider whether we are offering treasure in our curricula or something more like plastic.

I will certainly be implementing the ‘Summariser, Questioner and Clarifier’ roles, advocated by Angela Hill, when it comes to engaging with sources of wisdom and authority in the classroom. This activity acts as a natural differentiator and encourages curiosity which helps implement a curriculum which is “ambitious for all” (OFSTED, 2019).

Dr. Greg Barker’s session reminded us that we ARE philosophers and our students are too! I will be implementing the ABCD skills building exercise in my classroom. Rather than practising full essays, students can also build these exam skills through regular low-pressure paragraph tasks. In one paragraph they can demonstrate the skills required for a full essay: answer the question, back it up with evidence, challenge it, decide.

The session on using meta-ethical language at KS5 by Dr Rachael Jackson-Royal equipped me with a clear and concise overview of the content, fantastic lesson activities and a sense of confidence as I plan this unit for my own students.

There were, of course, freebies! The Bible Society provided card sorts which were a great time-saver. I collected a couple more Examining Religion and Belief magazines as well as a highly recommended book entitled More Than 101 Great Ideas which offers a wide range of practical strategies to get students acting, creating, enquiring, reflecting, talking, thinking and writing.

I left Strictly 2020 refreshed and ready to take these precious jewels out of the treasure chest and into my classroom.

Megan Young NQT at a secondary school in West Sussex.