Education is one of the primary ways a society prepares people for the world around them, including the range of worldviews and beliefs people may hold. With census results indicating a growing number of people identifying as Pagan, it would be reasonable to say that a growing part of the world surrounding young people identifies as Pagan. Therefore, an education system that hopes to empower young people to be able to function effectively in wider society, aided by an awareness of some of the different worldviews held and belief systems practiced within society, would be enhanced by the inclusion of some awareness of Pagan views, beliefs, and practices.
Education about Pagan traditions has not been a feature of the education received by adults who might increasingly find themselves coming into contact with Pagans in both a personal and a professional capacity. An important area of consideration for the Pagan Federation with regard to education, is to provide assistance for adults who find themselves in need of educational information to better understand Pagans they meet, work with or work for in an official capacity.
As Pagans, we are all aware of the great diversity of perspective around what ‘Paganism’ is, and that diversity can be found not just in the differences between the various traditions that might be included under the Pagan umbrella heading, but within those traditions themselves. It would be unreasonable to attempt to provide information that presented comprehensive information covering the entirety of worldviews and beliefs found in Paganism. However, it is possible to present an overview of some of the central traditions whilst also indicating that there is further diversity to be found beyond that overview.
The Pagan Federation is engaged in ongoing work with representatives from a variety of Pagan traditions and with Religious Education professionals, with the aim to be in a position to produce resources that meet the varying educational needs with regard to Paganism as well as reflecting some of the diversity under the Pagan umbrella.
It is hoped that those resources will be made available for free download both here on the Pagan Federation website, and on a number of other websites, including those for religious education professionals.
Our work in this field is greatly enhanced by our participation in the Pagan and Heathen Symposium, our membership of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales, and our work with a number of other Religious Education bodies.
Our members also participate in a number of local Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (SACREs). We encourage and support Pagan representation upon local SACREs and are interested in working with other Pagans who are also involved in this important area.
Our Statement on Commission on Religious Education Final Report (Sept 2018)
In September of 2018 the Commission on Religious Education (CoRE) published its final report on the state of RE in the UK, along with a set of 11 recommendations to the Government for change. Most significantly, it recommended that the name of the subject be changed to “Religion and Worldviews” and that every child in a publicly funded school should have access to the “academically rigorous” study of religious and non-religious world views facilitated by “high quality, well informed specialist teaching”. It also acknowledged that religious identity is “complex, diverse and plural”. The report represents the largest potential change in Religious Education since the Education Reform Act of 1988. For the first time it moves beyond the requirement to teach the six “World Religions”, recommending the inclusion of ‘smaller, local, indigenous or newer religions.”
The Pagan Federation whole heartedly endorses and supports the report and its recommendations and welcomes it as a huge contribution towards the religious and cultural education of our young people.
The Executive Summary of the report can be found here
The full report can be found here