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The RE Council for England and Wales organised a month-long celebration of RE in March 2011. WASACRE supported the celebration by:
The launch of celebrating RE in Wales
The official launch of ‘Celebrating RE’ in Wales was held on 2 March at Stanwell School, Penarth, hosted by WASACRE and the Vale of Glamorgan SACRE. Drawing together representatives from SACREs, local and national government, faith communities, NAPfRE, REMW, teachers, pupils, and resource providers, the launch provided the opportunity for collective recognition and celebration of the importance of religious education in our schools.
In his speech at the Launch, Archbishop Barry Morgan stated that learning about religion and faith is a vital part of a child’s education, and that RE educates the whole person, broadening their horizons and helping them understand the world they live in. He said,
“The current generation of young people in our schools will immerse themselves in a world where boundaries of nationality and culture are breaking down. Surely we have a duty to prepare them for that experience and to have a confident understanding of why their friend, work colleague, team mate or partner places such an emphasis on their faith.”
He also acknowledged the significant support that the subject receives from the Welsh Government.
“We are fortunate in Wales that the value of Religious Education has been recognised and supported by the Welsh Assembly Government. RE has played its part in the review of the school curriculum and is benefitting from the Exemplar Framework for Religious Education published in 2008… I have such hope that this event, reaching across Wales, will inform and give richness to the curriculum that our teachers deliver and that it will help our schools to become places of exploration, humanity and shared endeavour, rather than places of narrow personal attainment.”
Representatives from seven faiths in Wales also made statements about the value of RE in schools, which included perspectives from Judaism (Abraham Davidson, Blaenau Gwent SACRE), Hinduism (Dhira Bhakta Dasa, Bridgend SACRE), Christianity (the Revd Roy Watson, Blaenau Gwent SACRE), Islam (Moawia Bin-Sufyan, Vale of Glamorgan SACRE), Sikhism (Neeta Singh Baicher, Newport SACRE), Buddhism (Ven Geshe Damco Yonten, Lam Rim Buddhist Centre), and Baha’i (Sue Cave, Monmouthshire SACRE).
Those attending the launch greatly appreciated performances by pupils from local schools, including the host school (Stanwell school). These included: performances of the Celebrating RE song (Evenlode and Albert primary schools and Stanwell school); a drama called Reflections on the Holocaust (Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg); recitations from the Qur’an (St Cyres school); a Gospel choir (St Cyres); and a Holy Week rap (Stanwell school). In addition, India Dance Wales provided a demonstration of their work in schools.
The winners of the Books@Press Celebrating RE competition were also announced as Rachel Davy from Baden Powell Primary school and Rachel Speed from St Illtyd’s Primary school. Over lunch, there was opportunity to view the winning entries and also to view an extensive display of quality resources available to support RE in Wales.
The whole event was filmed by media studies students, who have produced a film of edited highlights for circulation to SACREs and for the WASACRE website.
The Celebrating RE song (English version, Place of Trust and Welsh version, Hafan Ffydd) has been performed throughout England and Wales, and is a Welsh contribution to the Celebrating RE month. The score, backing track, and words can be downloaded from the Celebrating RE website (or from this page). The song has been released by Sain and, features well-known Welsh singers Dafydd Dafis and Eleri Fôn accompanied by a choir from Ysgol Tryfan, Bangor. The professional recording of the song is available as an iTunes download.
The following downloads are available: