New Year’s Resolutions from a Head of RE

new yearIt’s so easy to have a million big dreams and plans for the year ahead, but its too easy for them to remain as dreams and to not materialise into action. Worse still is to act on a million things but to remain unaware of impact, being busy but lacking effectiveness. In 2015 I have decided to focus on a few specific ‘projects’ being mindful of purpose, expected impact and the need to build in a reflective process.

So here, below, are the ‘projects’ for 2015. I will blog on each of these during the year, maybe some of this will be of benefit to others!

1. Apply for the RE quality mark (REQM).

The REQM (more information can be found here)will help us as a department to reflect upon our practice as we prepare our application. The evaluation from the external assessor will be a welcome source of feedback which we hope will enable us to further develop the learning opportunities for our students. Whatever award we succeed in achieving will be a mark of our ongoing hard work of proving high quality Religious Education for our students.

2. Continued development of our new units of work for KS3

As I have previously blogged about here we have revamped our KS3 curriculum in the light  of some of the feedback from the RE audit, carried out by The National Society. This year we will complete the writing and teaching of four new units of work. This currently involves using the work of Freathy and Freathy in an approach they have trialled in primary schools. You can read more about this dialogic approach to RE here. This has already extended our work to involve interviews by students with members of different faith groups, independent student research and an element of experiential learning which we have previously not used. We will use measures of student progress, student voice and our own reflections to evaluate the impact  of these new units of work. Prayer spaces, OMG week and a year 7 retreat are all being built into this work.

3. Ongoing development of the use of technology to help students and parents engage with the subject.

Last year we began using twitter as a department. Over this time we have built up a following of almost 200 students in a school with 900 students. We trialled a couple of online twitter revision sessions last May. This is an area we want to make maximum use of, especially in the coming exam season. Last year we also developed GCSE padlets and animated videos for revision. Both of these resources need to be built upon this year, broadening the resources available and responding to the student’s requests for more material in this format.

I think that focusing on these three areas of development should be manageable. None of these projects is a ‘stand alone’ activity. Rather each one is partially about consolidation as well as progress. With the huge GCSE changes that we are facing I think we need to take care to fix our sights firmly on maximising high quality RE, beginning at KS3 (for us secondary teachers), so that whatever KS4 brings our way, our students are engaged and equipped.

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About Learning to Teach Lorraine Abbott

AHT in a Surrey School i/c of Chaplaincy Author for Hodder Education
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