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Fired Up Theatre - Mausoleum
Dear God...
“The ocean is like God and raindrops are the religion. When they fall into the ocean they become one.”
Zoya Ahmed and Nurun Uddin

NASACRE and Cambridge SACRE*

Fenland Primary Schools Project

*National Association of Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education 

Please note this project has been delayed due to Covid-19. Please watch for updates.

A project to research, design and trial ideas for enabling primary school pupils in areas where there is no access to faith centres other than Christianity to engage with faith communities and world views through encounter with believers and practioners. 

In the Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Districts of Cambridgeshire there are many small rural primary schools, which have very limited resources, opportunities or the financial capability to take children on trips.

Cambridgeshire’s new Agreed Syllabus, which was effective from September 2018 requires a wide range of faiths and world views to be addressed at all Key Stages.

Children must be given opportunities to talk with and learn from people from different races, creeds and social backgrounds. It is not just for the benefit of teaching Religious Education but will help towards developing them to become informed, active and responsible citizens with positive attitudes of respect and open-mindedness.

The perception was, when we designed this project, that the populations of Fenland and East Cambridgeshire towns and villages are mono cultural. The 2011 Census return supports this perception. The figures do not identify separately the cultural groups, they do show only small numbers of members of world religions other than Christianity.

Parents in these communities probably have little knowledge of other faiths save through the media and this can lead to the passing on of misconceptions about religions to their children and causing difficulties in school with the teaching of religious education. Anecdotal evidence suggested that parents are reluctant to agree to visits to places of worship other than Christian but less disquieted when interaction takes place in school. The teachers who have joined the project have confirmed that our initial perception was correct.

Some schools find meeting representatives of faiths and world views and/or arranging visits to places of worship such as mosques, synagogues, gurdwaras, temples, both difficult, time consuming and expensive.

Faith centres are inevitably found in centres of higher population. The main faith centres are in Cambridge and Peterborough. RE Teachers on SACRE say that pupils benefit most from visiting a place of worship. We do not disagree but with all subjects across the school curriculum competing for time and money for visits it is unlikely that a class will make more than one visit per year and that visit may not be for RE. Meanwhile the syllabus must be taught, and we wish to support schools to teach it well.


Our aim for this project

We would like to look at other ways of delivering faith experiences which will

- Reach whole classes

- Enable pupils to meet and interact with people from other faiths and beliefs

- Break down stereotypes and prejudice and inspire curiosity

- Save teacher and teaching assistant time

- Reduce costs and travel

- Fit into school timetable

- Increase teacher knowledge base and raise expectations in the classroom

- Recruit more school speakers

- Look at the raising of standards of delivery of school speakers. Many have much of experience of their individual faiths but little training for speaking with students.

- Provide teaching resources and perhaps some travel expenses
We have no wish to create a resource which schools will not use because it does not fit with their own needs, timetables and resources. Schools must be part of the planning and design. Therefore, we have divided our project into stages

- Research and consultation

- Analysis 

- Design 

- Trial

For more information this link will take you to the SACRE page of the Cambridgeshire Council Website.