Why Strictly RE? – Melissa Legg

The purpose for my departmental staff attending the NATRE Strictly RE Conference initially was to find an alternative/supplementary organisation to the ISRSA (Independent Schools Religious Studies Association), where the provision has become less relevant to us as time has progressed.  In addition, we have been very successful in their National Essay Competitions since entering two years ago and were disheartened to note that this would not be occurring this academic year. Thus, we were looking for an alternative enrichment opportunity and competition when I noticed the advert for the Strictly event and the Spirited Arts Competition in RE Today. I was also looking for further resources on Humanism and Philosophy to enhance the extra-curricular groups that we run too.

I, as Head of Department, really liked the way the day was structured and the excellent quality of provision, which was accessible for specialists and non-specialists alike. The relevance of the content of the seminars, run by familiar names and faces, was also a positive feature. No one ever minds free resources from some brilliant exhibitors either! Many of these have already been shared with colleagues and used in lessons.

I have been keen to develop departmental staff’s awareness of the national scene and attendance at this conference enabled us to do this and attend age specific seminars, relevant to what we as a school are aiming to provide.

The seminars attended were really well organised, structured appropriately and allowed us to view our planning and provision from differing angles.  It also provided opportunities to share our school experiences with colleagues and we came away with lots of ideas and enthused to review our current practice.

Two areas in particular which we will now be looking to review are

  • the development of the inclusion of a non-religious viewpoint and
  • a comprehensive review and rewrite the Year 4 provision.

The impact of this will be to develop our RS schemes of work to include the latest developments and continue to give our students the chance to think critically about other worldviews.

In addition, the ability to apply practical activities and exercises immediately from all three of the seminars attended was really motivating. So, our teachers of RS will continue to be passionate about the subject and their teaching will be further enriched by coming to the event.

The opportunity to attend what is essentially three INSET/CPD training sessions in one day, as a whole department – with no impact on ‘cover’ requirements at school – is great value for money.

We have now registered as a member of the organisation at a Gold level member. This will allow all staff to access resources and ideas for implementation, discounted future CPD, attendance at the annual conference and RE today subscription continuation.

We will also now be interested in exploring the application for an RE Quality Mark.

A really positive experience and an organisation that I would highly recommend joining.

Melissa Legg Head of RS/Assistant Head Gayhurst Prep School