North East Humanists have a team of trained and experienced school speakers who are available to come into schools to lead assemblies, teach lessons, or contribute to inter-faith events. We can offer general introductions to Humanism or focus on particular issues. To do this, our speakers draw on a rich range of materials provided by Humanists UK as well as other sources and our own experiences. Rest assured that we are not anti-religious. We happily work with people of various faiths and we are sensitive to the values and beliefs of pupils, teachers, and other adults. We concentrate on our own beliefs without denigrating those held by others. Several of our speakers are also Humanist celebrants.
Teaching children and young people about Humanism is usually planned as part of the religious education (RE) programme in schools. Humanism has been an optional part of RE for over a decade, during which time guidance and support for teaching about it has increased significantly. In conjunction with this, our education team offers professional development for school teachers and leaders of adult groups who wish to know more about Humanism. We have prepared Additional Guidance for Humanism for teachers of RE, in support of the Agreed RE Syllabus in Durham 2020. This Additional Guidance has also been adapted for North Tyneside. These guidances cover KS1 to KS4 and are designed to be readily usable by teachers. Most of the resources referred to in the documents are from the Understanding Humanism website. Direct links are provided in the texts.
Additional Guidance for Humanism in support of the Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education in Durham (v1.4) (click to download)
One additional document is freestanding and is provided separately: Discover and Explore Humanism at KS1/2 (click to download)
We have also developed a PowerPoint presentation to introduce all of these materials, which you can see here:
Additional Guidance for Humanism NEH Introduction PPT (v1.1) (click to download)
We also recommend this book as a fantastic resource for young people to learn about Humanism. It is called What is Humanism? How do you live a good life without god? And other Big Questions for Kids, written by Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young. This book explores questions of life, death, science, nature, morality, meaning, and purpose from a Humanist perspective. It features interviews with Humanists including Philip Pullman, Shappi Khorsandi, Natalie Haynes, and Jim Al-Khalili, and asks them how they approach life’s biggest questions. The book is published by Wayland and is available at online retailers like Blackwell’s.
In Local Authority schools in England, the RE syllabus is written by the local authority’s Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education (SACRE). These committees are expected to follow guidance from the Religious Education Council. The latest guidance, entitled Curriculum Framework for Religious Education in England October 2013, makes clear that Humanism is considered an essential part of every RE syllabus. Most of the current local syllabuses require pupils to have some knowledge of Humanism. Following national and local policies, as well as precedent from legal cases, Humanists are increasingly represented on SACREs. Correspondingly, we are members of several of the SACREs in the North East.
If you are interested in having a school speaker, or would like to comment on the resources we provide, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book a visit through the Humanists UK website, which includes a wealth of freely available information and educational resources.