Updated religious education syllabus set for adoption

An updated religious education syllabus that respects all children and helps them become happy, confident and ambitious is to go to the city council’s cabinet for adoption.

The Birmingham Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education 2022 is based around 24 ‘dispositions’ – or values – which encourage pupils to think about, and act upon, a growing understanding of their own faith or viewpoint, whilst acknowledging the views of others.

Cllr John Cotton, cabinet member for social inclusion, community safety and equalities, said: “Birmingham in 2022 is home to people of many different faiths, perspectives and beliefs. This new syllabus reflects this amazing diversity and is genuinely inclusive, taking account of the rich tapestry of faiths in our city and the growing number of people who do not have a religious worldview. I’d like to thank the conference for all their hard work and commitment to creating a syllabus that will help our young people to understand and appreciate the diverse city they call home.”

Cllr Jayne Francis, cabinet member for education, skills and culture, said: “A huge amount of work has gone into creating this syllabus, ensuring it includes the complete spectrum of beliefs and views and that all are accorded equal respect. The values set out in this syllabus were agreed unanimously across all faiths and none. Understanding and living these values should have a really positive effect on children’s wellbeing and mental health.”

The syllabus includes the nine religious traditions recorded to have significant representation within Birmingham: Bahá’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Rastafari and Sikhism and established non-religious world views such as Atheism, Humanism and Secularism.

A range of faith groups were represented on the Agreed Syllabus Conference which reviewed the syllabus as well as the Church of England, teachers and a representative from the Birmingham Humanist Association.

Guy Hordern, chair of the Agreed Syllabus Conference, said: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to be the Chair of the Agreed Syllabus Conference which was responsible for the review of the syllabus for Religious Education. I am very grateful to all the members of the conference who generously gave their time and skills for the benefit of the children of Birmingham.”

The 2022 Birmingham Agreed Syllabus has added two learning dimensions, so that pupils move from their own experience (Learning from Experience) to Learning About Religious Traditions and Non-Religious Worldviews, to Learning from Faith. Finally, pupils are given the opportunity to reflect and evaluate through the Learning to Discern aspect of the syllabus.

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