Up to 35 post-primary R.E. teachers attended the first in-service for this academic year in the John Paul II Pastoral Centre. The first session was led by Tom Gunning. Tom is a Religious Education teacher at Loreto Secondary School, Wexford. He is the author of the senior cycle textbooks The Inner Place (2006) and Into the Deep (2007) and produced Speak Out: Recognise and Deal with School Bullying (2012). He is also co-founder of the Parable Garden Education Project. He has just begun a secondment with Veritas Publications to write resources for the forthcoming Junior Cycle RE specification.
Tom will presented two sessions on the day. The first session was entitled; ‘Reviewing the new J.C. Draft Specification. A draft specification for the revised Religious Education at Junior Cycle level is now available for consultation at www.curriculumonline.ie . The three strands of the new course (Expressing Beliefs; Exploring Questions; Living our Choices) were considered at this presentation along with some pedagogical approaches.
For the second presentation a creative approach to senior RE was considered and a resource for the classroom was provided. The importance of this subject, though sometimes undervalued in a secular age, was also addressed.
Becca Gallagher, National Youth Development Coordinator with the Society of St Vincent de Paul, presented the second session. While her base is in the National Office in Dublin, she travels to all corners of the country coordinating the Young SVP programme and managing all the youth development officers (YDOs) based in the different SVP regions across the island. The Young SVP programme has been developed over the past number of years and has become a clear and comprehensive action focused programme for young people to engage in. Last year the programme operated in 213 schools with over 9000 students engaged. Becca explained how the SVP programme works, what the benefits and expected outcomes for all involved, she also explained how schools can get involved.
A big thank you to Kingdom Catering who provided lunch.