The NBO receives a variety of communications related to educational matters. The following gives a flavour of our involvement and engagement with national organisations concerned with education and some of the interesting requests for information that we receive.
Past endeavours include:
Being part of the Qualifications Review Committee for the Religious Education Council (REC) and reviewing the Buddhist content for GCSE and GCE A/AS examination specifications in Religious Studies for the DFE(Department for Education) and examination awarding authorities.
Contributing to the Commission on Religion and Belief in Contemporary Society (CORAB) enquiry, both as respondents to the commission’s survey and evidence panels (2015).
Contributing to the All Party Parliamentary Group on RE’s publication Improving Religious Literacy: A Contribution to the Debate (2016).
Our Current Work
At the National level: Membership of the RE Council
Since 2016 we have contributed to the leading work of the REC (Religious Education Council). See https://www.religiouseducationcouncil.org.uk for further information about the Council’s work.
This engagement has largely been concerned with what may be explained as the ‘interface’ between Buddhism and Religious Education (RE) in schools and colleges.
This engagement provides opportunities to be included in important conversations and decisions about how Buddhism and Buddhists might be understood and represented in the curriculum.
We contributed to the Commission on Religious Education (CORE), the role of which was to review the nature and status of RE, and to provide a new vision for the subject as defined in the commissions report published in 2018.
During the November SRGM (Second Regular General Meeting) of the REC (2019), members were updated on the implementation of the recommendations of the report. This included the re-visioning of the subject content and approach in terms of Religions and ‘World Views’. The results of academic work undertaken on this approach will be shared with the whole membership via focus groups and a future conference.
The interface between Buddhism and RE at regional and local levels
The Education Officer’s personal attendance as a Buddhist representative at various educational conferences and personal membership of SACRES (Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education) provides opportunity to explore the interface between Buddhism and RE in local and regional contexts. For example:
The subject of the regional Bristol and South West Gloucestershire Annual Conference was RE to save the planet (January 2020). The conference provided opportunity to explore exciting and relevant approaches to the environment and the climate change crisis-drawing upon the teachings of various faiths and secular beliefs. A Buddhist approach was presented for teaching Key Stage 4 pupils in collaboration between Bristol Buddhist Centre and a local school.
Additionally: We receive requests for information about significant festivals, which all Buddhists might share, information about specific celebrations such as marriage rites or how Buddhist funerals might be conducted. How Buddhist teaching and practice is relevant for dealing with social issues for example, climate change has become of significant interest.
Please note that these may be responded to by the education officer, or by other colleagues who have specific expertise in these areas, including chaplaincy and interfaith.