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.
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, Humanists are represented on as many as possible of the SACREs in the north east.
North East Humanists have a team of trained experienced school speakers who are available to come into schools to lead assemblies, teach lessons or contribute to inter-faith events. These can be general introductions to humanism or can focus on particular issues. We are able to draw on a rich range of materials provided by Humanists UK as well as other sources and our own experiences.
The team also offers professional development for teachers and presentations to adult groups who wish to know more about humanism.
We are not anti-religious but work with people of various faiths and 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.
If you are interested in having a school speaker please contact:
Mike Turner, Chair of North East Humanists T. 0191 272 8376 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate Hinton, Education Officer, North East Humanists T. 0191 285 1585 email@example.com
You can also book a visit through the Humanists UK website
NEH is too small to mount national campaigns on its own. So, we support the Humanists UK national campaign against Faith schools. Faith schools are publicly funded by the taxpayer but are allowed to use religious belief as a criterion for admission. Most of these are Church of England or Roman Catholic schools and here are a few Islamic schools. Humanists see these as socially divisive and are committed to the principle that all schools should be places where children and young people of all faiths or none learn, socialise and play together.