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Archive: July 2016

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Students challenge MPs with fresh ideas on RE
Posted on: 20/07/2016

Students challenge MPs with fresh ideas on RE

Two of the RS Ambassadors from Amery Hill, Alf Hamer and Monty Moran, joined over 60 more students from across England at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 13th July for the inaugural Youth Debate on the role of religious education in schools. They were welcomed to Westminster by Mary Glindon MP and comedian, writer and actress Sara Pascoe.  The students were accompanied by Head of RS at Amery Hill Mrs Esther Keen and specialist RS teacher Mr Steve Gerlach for the debate itself but the only voices heard were the students’ and guest delegates’, comprising politicians and educationalists.  Mrs Keen said, “Issues relating to RE are never far from the news headlines. It’s a great subject for a varied and heated debate, and our students presented their views eloquently and robustly, sharing their own ideas and being challenged by the different opinions and experiences of other young British people. They were really open to being exposed to fresh thinking and represented our school with real passion.” Students debated topics as diverse as the role of religious literacy in combatting extremism, the secularisation of schools, and the responsibility of society, through schools, to expose young people to the widest range of opinions, issues and learning. While at the Houses of Parliament, the students had the chance to meet local MP, Mr Damian Hinds, and to share their own thinking on the importance and relevance of RE in a modern society. The debate was staged by the Religious Education Council for England and Wales (REC), of which the Amery Hill students are members, and the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE). Photo below Students with Mr Damian Hinds, MPView Article
Young Ambassadors Conference
Posted on: 20/07/2016

Young Ambassadors Conference

The report which follows is from Lucy Bayliss and Monty Moran on their activities at the Young Ambassadors Conference held on 6th June and at school this term.    As part of our role as Young Ambassadors for RE, we participated in the RE Council of England and Wales’ Conference at Conway Hall - home to the Ethical Society - in London, which had an overall focus on the idea of creating community cohesion and looking at the role of RE in promoting this. We began by being introduced to the role of the RE Council, which is to promote the importance of religious education; we were also told about the REC’s plans for the future, which include an independent commission on Religious Education in schools.  After this, the keynote speaker Lord Winston was introduced, who gave a fascinating speech on the importance of faith, its role in modern Britain and how he personally balances his Orthodox Jewish faith with his work in science in areas such as genetic modification and fertility treatment. Ranging from the tower of Babel to the work of Galileo, his talk opened many branches for thought and discussion on religion and spirituality, as well as the ethics of modern science, such as the recent genetic modification of pigs to grow human organs. After this, each of the Young Ambassador teams presented on the worldview that they had been exploring over the last few months. As the Amery Hill team, we delivered a talk on our recent work on the Quaker faith, which was a collaborative project with the local Quaker Meeting House just outside our school.  A variety of faiths was explored including Sufism, Jainism, Modern Kadampa Buddhism, the Bahá’í faith and Zoroastrianism, before each team discussed their work as RE ambassadors over the past year and created plans for the upcoming year. At Amery Hill we are still establishing ourselves as a group, but have already been involved with several projects and events. This week we invited two speakers to Amery Hill for a presentation and debate on humanism and how being humanists affects their everyday lives.  Dr Alan Montgomery and Ms Rosemary Harker, from the Farnham Humanists joined Amery Hill students for a thought-provoking discussion.  For more information on the Farnham Humanist’s schools outreach programme, see their website www.farnham.humanist.org.uk/ Photos below The RE Young Ambassadors team from Amery Hill School, with Head of RS, Mrs Esther Keen, and teacher Mr Ian Carpenter Students arriving at the Ethical Society Guest speakers Dr Alan Montgomery and Ms Rosemary Harker, from the Farnham Humanists, with Amery Hill studentsView Article

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