Worldviews and Big Ideas: A Way Forward for Religious Education?


  • Rob Freathy University of Exeter
  • Helen C John University of Exeter


worldviews, big ideas, commission on religious education


This article explores the position of ‘worldviews’ in Religious Education, using England as a particular case study to illustrate contemporary international debates about the future of Religious Education (or equivalent subjects). The final report of the Commission on Religious Education (CoRE 2018) – which recommended that the subject name in England be changed from ‘Religious Education’ to ‘Religion and Worldviews’ – provides a stimulus for a discussion about the future of the study of religion(s) and worldview(s) in schools. The article offers a review of, and reflections on, the worldviews issue as treated in academic literature relating to Religious Education, before noting the challenges that the incorporation of worldviews presents. The article goes on to suggest ways in which a ‘Big Ideas’ approach to the study of religion(s) and worldview(s) (Wiggins and McTighe 1998; Wintersgill 2017; Freathy and John 2019) might provide criteria by which worldviews are selected for curriculum content. Finally, the article discusses what the implications of these recommendations might be for ‘Religion and Worldviews’ teachers and teaching.