F09 Guidance: Teaching Non-religious Worldviews in AMV



This agreed syllabus includes the new requirement for the teaching of a non-religious worldview, such as Humanism, at Key Stage 3 or 4. But that is not to say that non-religious worldviews cannot be included in the RE curriculum for younger pupils. In fact, it is a necessary part of RE teaching that pupils’ own views and backgrounds should be taken into account, and in most of our classrooms there will be pupils from non-religious backgrounds and those who, whatever their background, will want to explore non-religious ideas on the material being studied.

That is why the AMV programmes of study units contain opportunities to explore the key questions from a variety of religious and non-religious perspectives.


Since the last version of AMV, many more resources for teaching and learning about non-religious worldviews have become available. Here are a few that will support good learning in the context of the AMV agreed syllabus:

http://understandinghumanism.org.uk/ The education pages of the British Humanist Association (BHA). Here you will find a guide to Humanism, ideas for teaching, including lesson plans, videos and other resources and a contact point for arranging a Humanist speaker to visit your class.

http://www.sofn.org.uk/solaritylearningresources/ A set of 40 sessions written by the Sea of Faith Network (a non-religious network that explores religion ‘as a human creation’) intended for use by secondary school teachers or youth group leaders wishing to run out-of school-hours religion and philosophy clubs. A similar set of sessions for primary aged children is also being produced.

http://www.reonline.org.uk/knowing/what-re/humanism/ Detailed background information about Humanism under similar headings to our own Six Areas of Enquiry: (A) beliefs, teachings and sources of authority and wisdom; (B) ways of living; (C) ways of expressing meaning; (D) identity, diversity and belonging; (E) meaning, purpose and truth; and (F) values and commitments.

http://pof.reonline.org.uk/wordpress/?page_id=283 RE:ONLINE’s ‘Email a Believer’ service, providing an opportunity to ask a Humanist any question about their beliefs, values and so on. Many questions and answers are archived here and provide a good source of insight into humanist views and approaches to life.

http://pof.reonline.org.uk/wordpress/?page_id=317 A humanist blog with reflections on how a Humanist lives their life.

A Humanist Contribution to the Programme of Study

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has put forward a set of planning guidelines with ideas about Humanism that could be incorporated at each key stage. There is a wealth of ideas here, with links to teaching resources, built around the following questions (with potential links to the AMV units of study):

Key Stage 1

  • What do humanists believe makes us special? See AMV unit 1: Who are we?
  • How do humanists believe we can be happy? See AMV unit 2: Why are some times special? and unit 3: Why are some stories special?
  • What are the special ways humanists celebrate in their lives? See AMV unit 5: How do we celebrate our journey through life?
  • Why do humanists think we should be good to each other? See AMV unit 6: How should we live our lives?

Key Stage 2

  • How do humanists decide what to believe? See AMV unit 8: What do people believe about life?
  • Why don’t humanists believe in a god or gods? See AMV unit 8: What do people believe about life?
  • What are humanists’ views on happiness? See AMV unit 1: What is important to me?
  • What do humanist celebrations tell us about the things humanists value?
  • What do humanists value in life? See AMV unit 6: How do we make moral choices?
  • How do humanists believe we can lead a good life? See AMV unit 9: How should we live and who can inspire us?

Key Stage 3

  • How do humanists decide what is true? See AMV unit 1: What experiences and beliefs are important to me and to others?
  • What do humanists believe about the claims of religion, and how does the absence of belief in a god affect the way they live their lives? See AMV unit 8: What do people believe about life and the place of religion and belief within it
  • How do humanists understand and approach the challenge of death? See AMV unit 3: Where are the answers to life’s big questions?
  • How do humanists find meaning in a purposeless universe? See AMV unit 2: Does our planet have a future?
  • How do humanists find value in their lives? See AMV unit 9: What’s to be done? What really matters in religion and belief?
  • Where does morality come from, and how do humanists work to find out what is good? See AMV unit 6: How might beliefs affect my thoughts, ideas and actions?
  • What impact does Humanism have in the modern world? See AMV unit 4: What can we learn from religions, beliefs and communities today?

The full planning guidelines can be downloaded here: http://understandinghumanism.org.uk/planning-guidelines/

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