Understanding Christianity Training

The Understanding Christianity resource has been developed in response to a need identified in RE: supporting the progressive and systematic investigation of Christian beliefs and practices. Understanding Christianity aims to enable pupils to know about and understand Christianity as a living world faith by exploring core theological concepts, offering a challenging approach for teaching about Christianity, raising the level of pupils’ religious literacy.

This resource will support schools using the new Northumberland Agreed Syllabus for RE. The unit plans for Christianity within the new RE syllabus are condensed versions of the units contained within the Understanding Christianity resource. The resource follows the same pedagogy of the new syllabus (text/beliefs, impact, connections) and will provide a deeper understanding for teachers from which to plan as well as lots of extra suggested resources. There are further details in the attachments.

For first and primary school colleagues, the course consists of two days of training; the first day will introduce the resource, its pedagogy, the theological concepts with the accompanying subject knowledge and the second day will look at curriculum design and how this resource could be used effectively in your school, with time for supported planning in the afternoon.

Course dates for first and primary (colleagues need to attend BOTH dates):

Day 1: Tuesday 14th November 2023

Day 2: Monday 4th December 2023

For secondary colleagues, it is a one day course when all of the above will be condensed for specialists for the smaller number of year groups catered for in KS3. Middle school colleagues would probably be best to attend the secondary course where the focus will be on KS3 but non-specialist RE leads from middle schools are welcome to attend the primary course if they would prefer slightly more input and planning support; please do get in touch to ask if you’re unsure.

Course date for middle and secondary schools:

  • Friday 24 November 2023

As part of the training, you will receive the Understanding Christianity resource pack and you will also gain access to all of these resources online to share with colleagues in school. There is a subsidy for community schools without a religious designation so you will be able to receive the resource and training at a much-reduced rate.

If you would like to take advantage of this training offer, please book here (first/primary) or here (middle/secondary).

Religion, England and Wales: Census 2021 

A national perspective: 

  • The religion question is voluntary; 94.0% (56.0 million) of usual residents answered the question in 2021, an increase from 92.9% (52.1 million) in 2011. 
  • For the first time in a census of England and Wales, less than half of the population (46.2%, 27.5 million people) described themselves as “Christian”, a 13.1 percentage point decrease from 59.3% (33.3 million) in 2011; despite this decrease, “Christian” remained the most common response to the religion question. 
  • “No religion” was the second most common response, increasing by 12.0 percentage points to 37.2% (22.2 million) from 25.2% (14.1 million) in 2011. 
  • London remains the most religiously diverse region of England in 2021, with over a quarter (25.3%) of all usual residents reporting a religion other than “Christian”; the North East and South West are the least religiously diverse regions, with 4.2% and 3.2%, respectively, selecting a religion other than “Christian”. 

Other Religions in 2021 (England and Wales)  

The groups above correspond to the tick-box responses for the religion question. A person could also identify their religion through the "Any other religion, write in" response option. This write-in functionality providing insights for 58 religious groups.  

Among the 405,000 (0.7% of the overall population in England and Wales) who chose to write-in a response through the "Any other religion" option were the following religions: 

  • Pagan (74,000) 
  • Alevi (26,000) 
  • Jain (25,000) 
  • Wicca (13,000) 
  • Ravidassia (10,000) 
  • Shamanism (8,000) 
  • Rastafarian (6,000) 
  • Zoroastrian (4,000) 

The largest increase was seen in those describing their religion as "Shamanism", increasing more than tenfold to 8,000 from 650 in 2011. 

Of those who wrote-in a non-religious group to "Any other religion", the largest numbers were: 

  • Agnostic (32,000) 
  • Atheist (14,000) 
  • Humanist (10,000) 

(source – here) 

A Northumberland Perspective: 

Northumberland  National 
Religion   Number  %  % 
No religion  128703  40.1  37.2 
Christian  170668  53.2  46.2 
Buddhist  752  0.2  0.5 
Hindu  446  0.1  1.7 
Jewish  172  0.1  0.5 
Muslim  1635  0.5  6.5 
Sikh  654  0.2  0.9 
Other religion  1353  0.4  0.6 
Not answered  16181  5  6 
Total  320564  99.8  100.1 


You can find the Northumberland data here. The data can be interrogated at different geographical areas as required. 

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