RE Reform CREDO Initiative 2017-2020
On Wednesday 16th November 2016 at Cathedral Hall Westminster, CREDO (Catholic Religious Education Development Opportunities) launched a nationwide research project which will track the effects of the 2016 RE Reform in Catholic Schools. It is hoped that at least one school in every diocese will participate so that the results are truly national and the data robust.
- The first phase of the project to be completed by Summer Term 2017 will be quantitative and involve the distribution of a questionnaire for pupils at KS4 and KS5 to be conducted by RE staff and at the same time, an online survey of teachers and school leaders will also take place . Ethical requirements demand that the pupil survey respect school safeguarding procedures and all submissions will be anonymized and confidential.
- The second phase to be completed by Summer Term 2018 will be qualititative and involve focus groups and structured interviews held by the research team across a range of schools chosen in consultation with NBRIA (National Board of Religious Inspectors and Advisors).
There is potential for this work to continue through to monitor cohorts matriculating in 2019 and 2020 but even from 2018, the information yielded by these surveys will help CREDO monitor curriculum, resource and CPD issues as well as acquiring information regarding student religious literacy and teacher resilience. All of this will serve better to direct the efforts of the Catholic Education Service and NBRIA to support our hardworking practitioners in the demanding tasks that they have. Furthermore, as the attached diagram indicates, there is also the possibility that ancillary lines of enquiry will also be enrich the project. It goes without saying that we would be most grateful for your co-operation in this project and further details will be forwarded to you in due course should you require them.
Christian literacy is at the heart of the project which will assess whether the reforms have altered baseline understandings of key doctrinal verities and ethical standpoints. Liverpool Hope will study the impact on A-level groups and St. Mary’s University will analyse GCSE cohorts.
Teachers are the educational key to the success or otherwise of the reform. Leeds Trinity will research professional resilience, knowledge deficits, pedagogical success and failure, which, by means of bespoke training days assist the HEI’s in their task of accompanying teachers through the vital early years of the reform.
Study of a Non-Christian Religion will account for 25% of the examined syllabus. This unprecedented intervention by Government is in part an attempt to develop mutual religious understanding and Newman University will be researching the ramifications of this decision.
The Bible, though pivotal as a ‘source of revelation, risks being primarily understood as a ‘proof-text’ compendium in the Reform landscape . since course designs have inadvertently marginalized study of the Bible at GCSE and A-Level.
Restructuring of assessment means that 66% of those who currently ‘pass’ at Grade ‘C’ will now fail to attain Grade 5. It will be important to investigate this change which could further cement the social exclusion of the ‘academic poor’ in a Catholic system that was founded primarily for them.
The reform has taken the shape it has through interactions between HMG and religious stakeholders, examination boards and Ofqual. The Research will look at the operant models of religious literacy now acting as policy drivers.
Authors and publishers have been very busy with printed outputs - but to what effect? It may well be that diocesan networks, resource sharing and web based modes will prove the way forward in ‘classrooms without walls.’
For further information, please contact Anthony Towey (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Peter McGrail (email@example.com).