NATRE working with Culham St Gabriels Trust The North of England RE Conference Inspiring RE 158 teacher delegates, 18-19 May 2013 Teachers gathered in large numbers in Bolton in May for the NATRE CSGT North of England RE conference. “All sessions were useful. Gave me time to have professional dialogue with colleagues- Time to challenge my thinking and reflect on what learning means for me personally and in my school. All so useful and thoughtprovoking” Verity Stobart, Christ the Sower Primary “I loved the sense of confederacy amongst the many delegates from all sectors of education....The stimulus to think philosophically and pragmatically” Janice Nickson, Yarm School “Totally absorbing! The chance to immerse myself fully in everything RE; consultant talks, seminars, resource swap shop, visual art and clothes, meeting RE teachers...” Frances Burton, RE Special School “I loved everything, particularly meeting people, RE is generally isolating. I have loads of ideas to implement but also lots to think about. Infectious enthusiasm and sharing, quality leaders and speakers....so well organised Eileen Roger Higher Lane Primary Bury “The event has been amazing experience. I have learn heaps, been given great ideas to use and loads of ideas to integrate into everyday teaching I think personally I will become a better teacher- not just of RE” Teachers deserve a good venue if they give up a Saturday. The Last Drop Mercure Hotel did us proud, and was very pleasant. The conference attracted 158 delegates, so the biggest rooms were needed. 6 seminars in each slot. Teachers were very impressed to be part of such a large professional event, and seemed to gain strength and inspiration from it. It is also good to provide pleasant leisure facilities – the Last Drop has a lovely pool and spa. Teachers enjoyed the infinity pool! Stephen Pett presented ideas about RE’s contribution to pupils’ wellbeing and happiness. The idea was that if a school is a happiness factory, then RE contributes to the manufacturing! The REC sponsored walks programme was also part of the conference, with 4 of the leaders raising over £500 walking the West Pennine Moors The Hotel was right on the edge of Bolton, overlooking the West Pennine Moors Teachers relaxed quickly into our programme of 24 seminar options. We had a fine lecture programme for the whole conference from HMI, on religious understanding and on religion, wellbeing and happiness. Teachers enjoyed good food as well. Seminar leaders presented material about RE online, and special needs, gifted and talented work and RE for all. Geoff Teece and Karen Walshe presented recent research Teachers loved practical seminars, including this one on dance in RE! Leaders were encouraged to be completely available to delegates. A lot of the inspiration of the conference happened between sessions. To eat, meet, and think together was a rare benefit for many of these hard pressed teachers. Teachers also valued the chance to see and buy excellent RE resources Teachers bought over £3000 worth of RE today materials. Ed Pawson, NATRE chair, hosted the conference with several NATRE executive members involved in delivering seminars. This was a feature the delegates particularly valued, for its grass roots practicality Our seminar leaders encouraged active and engaging pedagogy in particular. We selected top practitioners who have much to share “Sessions were excellent. A good mixture of practical ideas and thoughtful talks about the purpose and value of Religious Studies” Andrew Priory “The event has been an amazing experience. I have learnt heaps, been given great ideas to use and loads of ideas to integrate into my actual teaching.” Shaira Kauser MA institute “I loved the joy of spending time devoted to RE...the experts were amazing and inspirational” Lynne Greenhow Longfield Academy “I loved everything, particularly meeting people, RE is generally isolating. I have loads of ideas to implement but also lots to think about. Infectious enthusiasm and sharing, quality leaders and speakers... so well organised Eileen Roger Higher Lane Primary Bury “I came to the conference feeling very flat and within an hour I had remembered why I wanted to teach RE” Margaret Fenton Wilmslow Prep School “Such an enjoyable weekend. Venue was excellent with excellent food, service and facilities. The seminars were so helpful, I have gained so many ideas that I cannot wait to implement when I get back to school. It was fabulous to have such experienced, well known speakers to pass on their knowledge. Excellent resources from speakers and everything has been so well organised” Vicky Yarnell Alumwell infant School Walsall NATRE would like to thank CSGT for supporting the North of England RE conference: 78% of delegates said it was excellent, and 21% graded it good.