My name is Bella Saunders and I am Head of Ethical and Religious Studies at an independent boarding school in Derbyshire with four years teaching experience. I believe strongly in the prominent role that the academic study of Religious Education can have in the development of young minds. A rigorous and thorough study of religion, philosophy and ethics helps young people approach the world from a global perspective and develop the capacity for empathy, critical evaluation and engagement.
My specialisms include Philosophy and Aesthetics and I also teach Ethics, Christianity and Islam too. Part of my role includes working as a lower-school tutor attached to a girls’ boarding house and as a (remarkably under-qualified) netball ‘coach’. I also have a handful of Sixth Form tutees which involves helping my charges with the UCAS application process. I support staff too, working from Septemeber 2016 as a mentor to two NQT teachers in my department. I also run internal training sessions with colleagues on using Twitter and Educational blogs for continued professional development.
I am a vehement supporter of the importance of RE in the curriculum as well as the need for more Philosophy teaching and learning in schools. This blog contains my own thoughts about education, teaching and learning specifically in the RE classroom.
I am an advocate of P4C and run my school’s Philosophy Society @ReptonHampshire . I encourage pupils to write articles which link Philosophy to current affairs and they contribute these to the pupil-run online magazine ‘Beyond the Bubble‘ under the subsection ‘Thought in Action’.
If you are passionate about delivering rigorous and academic Religious Education, then check out the ongoing Commission on Religious Education.
Religion is a powerful force for good in our world, and the perversion of it a powerful force for evil. If our society and our world are to benefit from the good and to avoid the evil, it is vital that children develop religious literacy and come to understand religious perceptions and motivations. They need to learn about their own religious or non-religious beliefs and practices and attitudes and learn to respect those of their fellow human beings. So Religious Education is an important, but often underrated, part of the school curriculum. I look forward to exploring with my fellow commissioners the changes that will allow RE to play its proper part in the formation of young people who will contribute to the sum of human happiness.
The Very Rev Dr John Hall, Chair of the Commission on Religious Education