An Opportunity for Expanding University-School Connections: Stakeholder Views of the Religion and Worldview Proposal
This article explores the results of an 18-month project exploring the opinions on Religious Education in schools and the religion and worldview’s proposal (CoRE 2018) with key stakeholder groups ‘outside the classroom.’ This article begins with a review of relevant academic critiques and then explores the key themes revealed by the stakeholder groups in the course of the research. We highlight three key thematic areas of challenge 1) structural and resourcing issues facing RE in schools, 2) conceptual debates about key words and areas of subject focus and pedagogical approach and 3) the perceived value of the subject. These issues are explored in some depth, noting that all groups thought that greater resource sharing and cooperation between the various stakeholders was important. It concludes by arguing that this discussion offers a unique opportunity for university engagement. Although academics in particular expressed concerns about a lack of conceptual coherence in the religion and worldview proposals, we suggest that university engagement with schools could effectively model constructive discussions across differences of academic disciplines and the various ways of understanding beliefs, practices and ethical choices.