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29 November 2018 | NatCen - Head Office

How should Religious Education respond to the UK’s changing religious landscape


Join us at this early evening event to discuss Religious Education.

Back in September, NatCen’s British Social Attitudes Survey revealed that a 52% of people now identify as having no religion. The data also showed that the numbers of people in the Church of England is now at a record low.

What do these changes mean for how Religious Education should be taught in British schools? How should syllabuses and practices be adapted?

Join us for this evening event where we will discuss the future of RE in the UK, as well as country’s changing religious composition. Speakers will include Rudolf Lockhart (CEO of the Religious Education Council for England and Wales), Andrew Copson (Chief Executive of Humanists UK) and Dr Lois Lee (PI of the Understanding Unbelief programme).

About the speakers:

Dr Lois Lee is director of the £2.3m Understanding Unbelief research programme at the University of Kent and founding director of the Nonreligion & Secularity Research Network. She has published widely on nonreligion, atheism and secularity, and her recent books include Recognizing the Non-religious: Reimagining the Secular and, with Stephen Bullivant, the Oxford Dictionary of Atheism.

Andrew Copson is Chief Executive of Humanists UK. He became Chief Executive in 2010 after five years coordinating Humanists UK’s education and public affairs work. Andrew is also President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).

Together with A C Grayling, Andrew edited the Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Humanism (2015) and he is the author of Secularism: Politics, Religion, and Freedom (Oxford University Press, 2017). He has written on humanist and secularist for The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, and New Statesman as well as for various journals.

Rudolf Eliott Lockhart is the Chief Executive of the Religious Education Council (REC).  The REC is the umbrella body bringing together all of the major stakeholders in the curriculum subject of religious education.  Members include a wide range of faith and belief groups, fully inclusive of non-religious groups, as well as organisations representing professionals working in religious education.  In 2016 the REC established the independent Commission on Religious Education whose final report, published in September 2018, has offered a new vision for religious education and recommended significant changes to the legal underpinning of the subject in schools.

This event is a collaboration between NatCen and the Understanding Unbelief programme.

NatCen is Britain’s largest independent social research agency. For the last 40 years we’ve worked on behalf of government and charities to find out what people really think about important social issues and how Britain is run.

Understanding Unbelief (University of Kent) is a $3 million research programme investigating the nature of atheism and other forms of unbelief around the world.


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