Aquinas Resources and Conferences, or ARC, is the work, or ‘work in progress’ of myself, Ant and Philip.
Our venture has been, in part, born out of necessity - the last two years have seen an unprecedented period of change in schools. New GCSEs, new A-Levels, new KS3 assessment systems, Progress 8, the EBacc... is it any wonder teachers on the ground were reaching out for more help and support?
It has also grown from what I term, “the new democracy” of the internet and social media. As Catholics, working in Catholic schools, we know we are answerable to our own Bishops and must work with our Diocese education teams. However support can variable, and sometimes it only linked to Heads of RE and not every teacher in the classroom.
We want to be a resource for all those in need, and all those who are willing to share. We want to be a hub of good practice sharing the very best of what is out there already, and what will be produced over the next few years.
There is a spirit of collaboration in existence at the moment which seems unprecedented. The Catholic HEIs, the CES, NBRIA, teachers, schools working together. Surely only good can come of this? There is also more work than ever before with organisations such as NATRE and Culham St Gabriel’s.
We already we have nearly 500 followers on Twitter, over 200 likes on Facebook, there are nearly 450 members of the Catholic RE Facebook group - and posts are often shared on a group of nearly 5000 RE teachers called Save RE. Already this is a significant project.
Ultimately, we want to engage with all those working in Catholic RE, and beyond, to ensure the students get the best possible religious education. The best lessons, the best supported teachers, best resourced departments. RE is the core of the core and our provision must reflect that.
I began the London RE Hub conference quoting Rabbi Hillel the Elder, “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” - I think this mantra has inspired all of us. It’s why we have got involved in spec writing, textbook writing, hosting INSET, investigating the possibility of running student conferences, making videos, PowerPoints (Philip is the master). If this isn’t a vocation, I don’t know what is!
However we can’t do it all on our own - despite some people thinking we can! The more who come on board, the more we can achieve.
Please visit the website, there are flyers about. Ask yourself, what can my contribution be? What can I offer? Ant always reminds us, the Holy Spirit is at work in all his. We do hope this project can bear much fruit.
Listen to the launch <here>