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Associate Professor Peter McGrail speaks at launch of national research project

Peter McGrail Friday 18 November 2016

Liverpool Hope University Associate Professor Peter McGrail spoke at the launch of a nationwide research project that will track the effects of the 2016 Religious Education (RE) Reform in Catholic Schools. The project is a collaborative initiative of Catholic Religious Education Development Opportunities (CREDO) – a forum that brings together the Catholic Education Service of the Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the National Board of Religious Inspectors and Advisors (NBRIA), and the Catholic Higher Education Institutions.

Launched on Wednesday 16th November, the initial dimension of the project is a two-year empirical study, to be led by Dr Anthony Towey of St. Mary’s University, London, Key Stage 4 (KS4), and Peter McGrail of Hope, Key Stage 5 (KS5). It is hoped that at least one school in every diocese will participate so the results will be truly national and the data robust.

Professor McGrail said: “There is potential for this work to continue through to monitoring cohorts matriculating in 2019 and 2020, but even from 2018, the information yielded by these surveys will help CREDO monitor curriculum, resource and CPD issues, as well as acquiring information regarding student religious literacy and teacher resilience.

 “All of this will serve better to direct the efforts of the Catholic Education Service and NBRIA to support our hardworking practitioners in the demanding tasks they have. There is also the possibility that ancillary lines of enquiry (for example into biblical literacy, teacher CPD needs) will also enrich the project.”

The first phase of the project - to be completed by Summer Term 2017 - will be quantitative and involve the distribution of a questionnaire for pupils at KS4 and KS5. This will be conducted by RE staff, and at the same time an online survey of teachers and school leaders will also take place.

Summer Term 2018 will see completion of the second phase, which will be qualitative, and involve focus groups and structured interviews. These will be held by the research team across a range of schools chosen in consultation with NBRIA.

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