The Hockerill / NATRE prize for Innovation in RE Teaching

2014 Prize Winners

It is with pleasure that we announce the winners of the 2014 Competition. Now in its fourth year the competition attracted 24 entries, with schools from all over the UK taking part. The Prize is a Beacon in these troubled times in Religious Education. The judges commented that this year's entries were again, of a very high standard and were truly representative of the very high standards reached in the teaching of RE in our schools. The judges wish to thank all the participants for the efforts they went to, not only in preparing their entries, but in developing the materials / schemes of work therein. The teaching profession can be proud that it can count amongst its members these dedicated and imaginative teachers of RE.

The judging criteria are very rigorous and it is only the exceptional entry that will meet all the judges' requirements.

In Primary Education

First Prize

Ms Gill Tewkesbury
Pilton Bluecoat CE Academy
Abbey Road
Devon EX31 1JU

This entry follows the life of Jim, an 18 year old student who has just finished his A-levels and is planning to work as a Gap year student for a charity in Africa. Each week Jim sends a letter, e-mail or text to the class telling the children what he is doing as well as asking for help and advice. The children follow Jim on his journey as he learns more about the Christian faith. The materials have also been developed to work alongside a geography topic, namely Africa. The materials draw together the Key Stage 2 "Beliefs in Action in the World", "Sacred Writings" and the "Inspirational People", parts of the previous curriculum supported by Devon and Exeter Diocese and is easily transferrable to the new scheme looking at "How do we make moral choices?" (Beliefs in Action) and "How should we live?". It is currently being used for Year 4 children but can be adapted easily for other year groups

The judges commented that this is a creative, innovative way of opening up and applying Christian belief and teaching. The entry makes excellent use of following fictional 18 year old Jim on his Gap year journey and showed very deep learning from religion. Uganda is chosen because there is an excellent link with a local Barnstaple charity working there. In short this entry ticked all the boxes for the judges including transferability to other schools and adaptability to other religions.

Joint Second Prize

Mrs Anna Fane
Nettleham C of E Junior School
Mill Hill
Lincoln LN2 2PE

This school follows the Lincolnshire Agreed Syllabus for RE. The subject of this entry is part of the Year 5 programme and in particular "What can we learn from people of faith today". The early part of this element discusses the understanding of and reflections on "What is Faith?"

The culmination of this topic is the development of a "Faith Tree" – bringing faith to life by using metaphors of faith, similar to the "Love is......." cartoons. Predominantly Christianity based it is also linked to Hinduism. The lessons and materials in the scheme all work towards this objective.

The judges commented that this entry provided a very thoughtful approach to developing an in depth knowledge of Faith, a difficult abstract concept. It is well planned, with good Biblical and other stimulus material, developing collaborative learning and show

Joint Second Prize

Miss Anna Maeer
Rushall Primary School
Pelsall Lane
Walsall WS4 1NQ

Anna was appointed RE Coordinator at Rushall in January 2014 and has brought a new eye to RE at the school. The new curriculum, introduced last September, has allowed access to exciting new resources in subjects such as English and History through a topic based learning platform, but the same could not be said for RE. Anna has been instrumental in writing a new development plan for RE in the school, and because the school has a strong inclusive school ethos she has set up a development team of 5 Year 5 pupils to work with her. Together they have undertaken research to support the development of new curriculum modules, ideas for lessons, and enrichment and immersion days.

The judges commented that this is an excellent example of how a dynamic teacher and an open school leadership can revolutionise and revitalise school RE. The involvement of the pupils is innovative and impressive. The school is still on a journey, but what a start!

In Secondary Education

First Prize

Erica Melton & Helen Smith
Pate's Grammar School
Princess Elizabeth Way
Cheltenham GL51 0HG

This entry addresses two key elements of the RE Syllabus: "Learning about Religion" (Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Religious Teachings, Concepts, Behaviour & Beliefs); and "Learning from Religion" (Ethics, Challenges to Religious Belief, Impact of Beliefs & Values on Behaviour). It does so by exploring Ethics and Sport through a series of eight lessons and varied activities. The scheme is designed for the top set Year 8 group or the mixed ability Year 9 group and it is particularly aimed at engaging Year 8 boys.

The judges commented that this is an interesting and innovative entry, making thoughtful connections between sport and ethical and theological concepts in RE, covering several religions and philosophies. The use of sport is not just a gimmick but a way of exploring some genuinely thoughtful RE, balancing learning about and learning from religion. It deals with some profound questions in an engaging way without the sense of diluting the students' requirement for knowledge and understanding. Innovative and transferable.

Second Prize

Mrs Meghann Hewitt
Gosford Hill School
Oxford Road
Oxfordshire OX5 2NT

This entry addresses an issue that is of central concern to contemporary RE, that of the different ideas about the purpose of the subject, whilst the students have a very narrow concept of the aims and purposes of studying RE. The objective of the scheme of work is to simplify these aims and purposes into six core areas and communicate these to the students to widen their understanding and appreciation of the nature of the subject. As with the Fist Prize winners this entry covers both learning about and learning from Religions.

The scheme of work presents the six paradigms in the pedagogy of RE (Liam Gearon) is six linked lessons. It is designed for Year 8 students.

The judges commented that they were very pleased with the way this entry took theory and applied it to the classroom. The series of lessons modelling these different pedagogies or paradigms is a very good start to what could become an excellent model for other schools to explore