Some students get the necessary support in the free development of their own beliefs and moral values from their families. However, it is essential to ensure that non-religious students with less support are made aware that it is possible to be non-religious and lead an ethical, happy, and meaningful life.
Tips for teachers to ensure RE is inclusive:
- Use inclusive language wherever possible (for example, ‘belief’, ‘life stance’, ‘worldview’, or ‘philosophy’, instead of ‘religion’ or ‘faith’, and ‘non-religious’ rather than ‘no faith’ or ‘non-believer’).
- When setting tasks, make sure someone who is non-religious can participate without any barriers (for example, anyone could write a ‘reflection’ rather than a prayer).
- Include non-religious perspectives when addressing ethical issues, and be clear that ‘moral’ and ‘religious’ are not the same thing.
- In lessons addressing the fundamental questions about life, death, meaning, and purpose, include the viewpoints and experience of humanists to allow non-religious students to see that non-religious answers are available.
- When teaching about rites of passage, include Humanist Ceremonies and other ways non-religious people may mark important milestones, life events, and the passing of time.
- Ensure students are taught religious stories (for example, creation stories, and miracles) in such a way that their understanding of science is not compromised.
- Make sure any statement about any religion is prefaced by, ‘Some people believe…’ rather than ‘We believe…’
- Don’t assume children and young people come from a religious background, hold the same religious beliefs as their parents, or believe in an afterlife or a god or gods.