Developing Resources for Religious Literacy in FE: A Social Justice Approach

Colleges sought to take part in new project on religious literacy in Further Education!  St Peter’s Saltley Trust is pleased to be partnering with researchers from the Open University and elsewhere in this exciting new project.

The Project in Brief

A collaborative project to develop teaching resources, knowledge and dispositions among FE staff to teach social justice-based religion and belief literacy for the preparation of learners for employment and life in a diverse society.

Why the need?

In our society, clichés and stereotypes about religious and secular ‘others’ are commonplace – including well-recognised forms of prejudice including Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism but also other forms of suspicion and misrepresentation of religion and belief groups (e.g., tendency to equate religion with irrationality, or tendency to see non-religion as a-moral).  Lack of religion and belief literacy leads to misunderstanding and hostility between different people, and hinders young people from being able to operate effectively and respectfully within a diverse society.

How can this project help?

Religious literacy is a tool for challenging these clichés and stereotypes and for celebrating diversity. This project will provide…

  1. Fully-funded workshops for three participating colleges, led by experienced university researchers in the field of religion and belief, exploring with FE staff how a social justice-based religious literacy can help prepare learners for employment and life in a diverse society.
  2. A suite of resources on religious literacy which can be used within FE college contexts to help young people develop religious literacy (the design of these resources will be informed by consultation with FE college staff – a key part of each workshop). This will be made available free of charge to colleges, once completed.

We seek the development of FE students as whole people capable of making a positive impact to society.  Consequently, this project begins with the person, not as a passive vehicle for particular beliefs but as an agent engaged in the positive transformation of themselves and others through critical reflection.

Who is leading the project? 

The project is led by Dr Paul-François Tremlett, Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University (, along with a project team of experienced academic researchers in the study of religion and belief, including Dr Aled Thomas (University of Leeds), Dr Rhiannon Grant (Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre), and Dr Ian Jones (St Peter’s Saltley Trust).  The project is funded by St Peter’s Saltley Trust.

How can you get involved?

We are seeking three colleges within the West Midlands region[1] wishing to make provision for religion and belief literacy training for a meaningful group of staff.  Participating colleges have the opportunity to shape the planned suite of religious literacy resources as part of the workshops provided.  We would also like participating colleges to help the project team trial draft resources as they are developed.

If you are a college senior manager and would like to discuss involvement, please contact us for a conversation.

[1] Birmingham and Black Country, Herefordshire, Telford and Shropshire, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Warwickshire and Worcestershire