The Understanding Christianity (UC) resource, commissioned by the Church of England and developed by RE Today, has reached over 5,000 schools and over a million pupils across the UK since it first launched in 2016.
Now, with the support of funding from Benefact Trust, the project will be rolled out even further with the aim of reaching 1,000 community schools.
Zoe Keens, CEO, RE Today, said: “The aim of Understanding Christianity is to enable teachers to teach the complex concepts of Christianity with confidence, and equip pupils to leave school with a coherent understanding of Christian belief and practice. We have successfully demonstrated that pupils from four to 14 are now exploring the significant theological concepts within Christianity as part of developing their wider religious, theological, and cultural literacy. We are pleased to be developing the next resources in the ‘Understanding…’ series of ‘Understanding Islam’ and ‘Understanding Unbelief’.
“We are extremely thankful to Benefact Trust for giving us the opportunity to roll this resource out wider to even more community schools, enabling us to subsidise the resource by granting £150 for every school trained and set up.”
The UC resource was developed to support pupils of all key stages in expanding their own thinking and understanding of Christianity, as a contribution to their perception of the world and their own experience within it. The ambition is to raise standards of achievement in teaching and learning Christianity in RE, and make the resource available to as many young people as possible.
Saima Saleh, RE Lead Ravenscote Junior School, said: “Pupils have thoroughly enjoyed using this amazing resource- I have spoken to pupils from every year group. I can see through pupils’ work that written evidence also reflects the depth of learning that is taking place.”
An independent evaluation of Understanding Christianity by Dr Rachel Shillitoe, Research Associate, School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, University of Birmingham has reported that the aims of Understanding Christianity are successfully being fulfilled and that the resource is highly effective and is having a positive impact on RE lessons at the participating schools.
Paul Playford, Grants Officer for Benefact Trust, said: “This resource has proved invaluable in increasing engagement among pupils and teachers with Religious Education, and is deepening understanding of the many facets of Christianity. We’re pleased that our funding will help ensure that more schools have access to these tools.”