Teachers and texts: Improving Religious education through hermeneutics

A unique opportunity for secondary schools and academies not of a religious character to share in the work of developing classroom practice of religious education.

An innovative school-based initiative from Canterbury Christ Church University in association with University College London.

  • Do you aspire to help students become able to think deeply and critically about sacred texts and their religions and world views?
  • Is your school interested in developing the practice of RE teachers?
  • Would you like your teachers of RE to contribute to internationally-renowned research into teaching texts?
  • Would your school value an active partnership with two leading universities?

This is a unique opportunity for secondary schools and academies interested in or currently teaching sacred texts for Christians and/or Muslims to participate in groundbreaking research. We are looking for schools which seek to offer their students a positive experience in religious education. The project research team will work with your teacher of RE to support the development of the teaching of texts in RE lessons, identifying, consolidating, developing and exploring new techniques in lessons taught in key stage 3 RE. Ultimately this work will become known nationally and internationally through a published resource made freely available online.


  • CPD session (no more than 1 days work in length, fitted around the participant's work pattern) to introduce hermeneutical thinking.
  • Remote support from a mentor who will help your RE teachers to modify lessons they teach through the use of provided resources, through the practice phase of the project.
  • Interviews with the teachers before and after the practice phase to understand the changes and the challenges.
  • The data gathered from the interviews and any other materials will be used to shape the resource and provide an understanding of the implications of these kinds of approaches in a published resourced.
  • A support grant for each participating school.
  • The project will start in October 2018 and will be completed by February 2020. The practice phase will take place between January and June 2019.
  • The participating teachers and the schools will be anonymized in publications, reports and events.


The opportunity to: 

  • Contribute to the development of religious education;
  • Share your good practice in collaboration with others;
  • Receive expert support in adapting lessons the school has chosen from its curriculum;
  • Be part of an innovative research project with international reach;
  • Make a valuable contribution to research in religious education;
  • Be recognised as a school engaged in innovated research aimed at improving children’s learning in RE;
  • Gain cerificate of participation of research led by NICER which you can display on your school premises and website.


The criteria against which schools will be selected will be evidence of:

  1. A school or academy that provides religious education to its pupils at key stage 3 and GCSE Religious Studies at Key stage 4 
  2. A clear indication that at some point in the period from January to June 2019 there is an opportunity within the key stage RE curriculum followed for space to include the study of sacred texts in Christianity and Islam (in the case of Catholic schools Christianity is required).  
  3. To have at least 2 teachers who teach RE who are willing to participate in the project. 
  4. Commitment to supporting and contributing to research in improving teaching and learning. 
  5. Feasibility in terms of practical arrangements. 


Oct 2018-Nov 2018 Schools recruited. You identify which parts of your curriculum you want to develop .
Nov 2018-Feb 2019  CPD support materials developed for the lessons the school has identified.
Feb 2019-Jun 2019 Mentor supported practice phase involving no less than 7 adapted lessons.
Jun 2019-Aug 2019 Post-practice phase interview conducted in person.
Sept 2019-Feb 2020 Development of the RE resource and a final follow up interview.
Feb 2020-Aug 2020 Resource published and disseminated by the research team.


To apply please download, complete and return the application form, paying particular attention to the criteria for selection.

If you would like to talk further with a member of the University team, please email our administrator Charmian Cowie ( charmian.cowie@canterbury.ac.uk) with your telephone number and request and she will arrange for someone to call you. 

The schools selected to participate in the project will be asked to sign an agreement with Canterbury Christ Church University as follows:

The school will:

  • Commit to participate in the project from October 2018 to February 2020;
  • Identify a single teacher of RE which will be a point of contact between the school and the research team;
  • Make practical arrangements for participating teachers of RE at the school to meet with the research team for the CPD input – which might include providing use of a classroom or office space;
  • Give permission for, and facilitate the work of, the researchers in data gathering – specifically, allowing the interviews of the participating teachers and any associated requirements;
  • Give permission for findings to be published.

Canterbury Christ Church University will:

  • Ensure that all aspects of the research conform to legislative requirements and the appropriate ethical standards, particularly with respect to child protection. There will be no contact with children; 
  • Ensure that all their researchers conduct themselves according to the highest professional standards in their conduct with the teachers;
  • Ensure that neither the school nor any individual involved in the research will be identified by name, except by agreement;
  • Guarantee that participation is voluntary for teachers, students and any others involved in the research, who may withdraw at any time during the research process;
  • Ensure that it is good practice that is highlighted in all published material; 
  • Allow all of the teachers to read and offer comments before publication of the final resource;
  • Provide a grant to each school participating in the project.



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Last edited: 14/12/2018 05:30:00