07 July 2016
School students debate importance of religious education in House of Commons
A group of students from The St. Lawrence Academy will be joining around 70 other students from schools across the country at Westminster on Wednesday 13th July to take part in a debate at the Houses of Parliament. The Youth Debate – on the role of religious education in schools – will be hosted by Mary Glindon MP, and chaired by a Sixth Form student trained in handling opinionated pupils…and politicians!
The students will be accompanied by specialist RE teacher Julie Miles for the debate itself, but the only voices heard will be the students’ and guest delegates’, comprising politicians and educationalists, as well as comedienne, actress and writer Sara Pascoe. The students are also hoping to get the chance to meet local MP Nic Dakin, who has been invited to attend the debate and meet them for tea afterwards.
Mrs Miles said, “Issues relating to RE are never far from the news headlines. It’s a great subject for a varied and heated debate, and my students are looking forward to sharing their own ideas and being challenged by the different opinions and experiences of other young British people. They are really open to being exposed to fresh thinking.”
The debate is being staged by the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) and the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE).
REC Chief Executive Rudolf Eliott Lockhart commented, “RE is one of the most exciting, relevant and popular subjects in schools today. It has the capacity to engage and confront both students and teachers. No wonder more young people than ever are opting to study it.”
NATRE Chair Daniel Hugill added, “The importance and role of RE and the way it looks in schools today is the subject of ongoing debate and discussion among politicians and opinion formers. For once this is a chance for young people to express their views and for the politicians who make the decisions about the subject to listen.”
“We’re also hoping that one or two of the students might find inspiration for their futures through the event. RE is all about discussing and challenging others on the big issues in life. Who knows, if they enjoy the debate, some may even be encouraged to take up a fascinating, stimulating career in RE teaching!”
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