Interestingly I attended a teaching and learning conference with my school today. The aim of the day was to bring all of the schools in my academy chain together and have those much needed curriculum discussions.
I was so excited by this prospect. I love working with other passionate RE specialists and I love to see what other teachers are doing in hope that it will help me to further develop my own RE department.
Today’s sessions were focused on the RE GCSE and the changes that are heading our way and whilst these do matter, I currently only have year 7 and 8 so they are less of a stress to me at the moment. So I focused my attention on picking people’s brains about assessment rubrics and life after levels in RE.
Being a part of a federation means that we share this sort of thing but there was nothing available for the RE. A few weeks ago, in a bit of a panic, I sat with my line manager and we managed to create a structure that works for us for now. It will need a complete re-working before next half term.
We are using the new GCSE 1-9 system and what I have created is not quite levels but it is not far enough away from levels either (Niel McKain’s Elvis image springs to mind). It had to be done though as data is due in but I need the time to think on it further. (I will put the rubric I am using on here at a later date)
So today, I asked people what they have been using to mark their assessments and input their data (on which we are all judged against each other). Each person was using something different – the common problem in RE. A lack of consistency is the biggest problem and contributes to bad RE.
I raised the question to the RE leader about this issue, as we know this is a national issue for RE not just a federation one. One of the other RE teachers who has shown me what he uses (which is brilliant) heard my complaint. We are hoping to make this much tighter and more consistent but what was so inspiring today was that there are so many RE teachers there that could be collaborating on all of this as the climate in RE changes.
I feel really excited today about creating my new RE documents and trying them out in my school seeing how they work and then sharing them with others so that they can be tested in different cultural and ability contexts.
We need to take control of our subject and hold it to such a high standard. The expectations should be sky high and having this rubs off on others. I had such positive comments today about my hopes for the future of RE across all our schools and I think that we went away feeling that we should collaborate more and utilise our knowledge to make the RE academically rigorous and successfully assessed.