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Religious Education and Its Interaction with the Spiritual Dimension of Childhood: Teachers’ Perceptions, Understanding and Aspirations

Hill, Ellie; Woolley, Richard


Ellie Hill


In England, religious education (RE) is a part of the basic curriculum mandatory for all pupils in the compulsory years of schooling. This paper explores how RE and spirituality interact and whether one can contribute to the effective delivery of the other. It explores the experience of a small group of subject leaders working in schools in one local authority area in the West Midlands of England, drawn from schools with a religious affiliation and those without. Using in service training activities, questionnaires and reflective processes, it seeks to elicit their aspirations for the interaction between RE and spirituality (also referred to as meaning-making). The findings suggest the subject leaders have an intention to develop both activity to promote learning and activity to apply that learning to real life experience. This suggests that developing a spiritual dimension to religious education requires a move from the abstract or theoretical and from knowledge acquisition towards increased engagement, making a personal response and considering what difference can be made as a result. As such, a spiritual dimension to learning cannot be passive. The project has the potential to impact policy and practice on both national and international levels, given its focus on values and pedagogy rather than specific curriculum content.


Hill, E., & Woolley, R. (2022). Religious Education and Its Interaction with the Spiritual Dimension of Childhood: Teachers’ Perceptions, Understanding and Aspirations. Religions, 13(4), Article 280.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 21, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 24, 2022
Publication Date 2022-04
Deposit Date Dec 21, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 3, 2023
Journal Religions
Electronic ISSN 2077-1444
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 4
Article Number 280
Keywords Religious education; Children’s spirituality; Subject leadership; In service training and development; Curriculum; Values; Childhood
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Published article (539 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and<br /> conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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