Newham pupils up for awards for art inspired by places of worship

11:48 17 June 2014

Winners of last years competition from Selwyn Primary School in Plaistow

Winners of last years competition from Selwyn Primary School in Plaistow


Schoolchildren across Newham are awaiting the results of a religion-themed art competition, as judges pick their best work inspired by places of worship.

More than 80 schools are taking part in the annual Religion Matters competition, with entries ranging from collage, painting and sculpture to music and poetry.

Religion Matters gives Newham schools advice on how to teach religion, and helps organise school visits to local places of worship, including churches, mosques, synagogues, Gurdwaras and Buddhist temples.

Winners will be announced at Elmhurst Primary School in Upton Park on June 24 in an awards ceremony attended by pupils, teachers and faith leaders.

Claire Clinton, who runs Religion Matters, said: “Newham is very diverse, so for children to actually see and experience what is important to other people in terms of religion makes a huge difference to just learning about it in class or from a book.

“It’s really hard for teachers, because they might not be from any of the religions, but they have to talk about them. And children have some amazing questions.”

Claire has been a teacher for more than 20 years and has a degree in Theology, and used to advise schools on their legal requirement to teach religion on behalf of Newham Council.

The government switched the funding for this from going through the council to being given straight to schools three years ago.

Since then, Claire has been employed by the schools directly, and runs a range of projects to help teachers and pupils.

“I think anything that stops ignorance and fear of difference is really important,” she said.

“Living in such a diverse community, it really helps children to have visited these places of worship.”

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