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    RE teachers and the shifting landscape of values education in England

    McDonnell, Jane ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7482-748X (2023) RE teachers and the shifting landscape of values education in England. British Journal of Religious Education, 45 (3). pp. 228-239. ISSN 0141-6200

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    The promotion of fundamental British values (FBV) and character education in schools can be seen as part of a new policy landscape of values education in England, with significant implications for Religious Education (RE). Research on these policies has tended to emphasise their securitising and constraining effects. This paper shifts attention to teachers’ creative responses to this new policy landscape and the generative contradictions within it. Building on findings from a pilot study, the research used focus groups and creative writing workshops to explore RE teachers’ responses to the new policy landscape (including their perceptions of whole-school approaches to values education) and their imagined futures within it. The findings illustrate how teachers drew on a range of RE pedagogies in their responses to the new policies and illuminate teachers’ feelings about their faith-based interpretation at whole-school level. One key implication is the potential of RE for enacting the new policy agenda in meaningful ways. The research also offers an original contribution to conversations about the faith-based interpretation of FBV and character education at whole-school level, suggesting that the important question in relation to such interpretations may be not whether but how schools are drawing on religion.

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