PUPILS from St. Francis Xavier School in Richmond have overcome stiff competition to win one of the top prizes in a blog competition.

Pupils in the Key Stage 3 and 4 category impressed in a national blog contest on the role and significance of an education in religion and world views.

More than 200 young people submitted entries to the inaugural school blog competition run by charitable foundation Culham St Gabriel’s Trust.

Teachers from all school types across the country asked their pupils why an education in religious and non-religious world views matters. 220 pupils from as young as five and up to eighteen years-old entered the contest, which ran from January to March 2021.

Among the blog entries, pupils cite the role of religious education in helping understand diversity in the modern world and in providing vital preparation for today’s complex society. They highlight respect and empathy as key values the subject encourages, as well as to recognise and stop prejudice and discrimination, adapt to societal changes, and celebrate diversity.

An education in religion and world views also develops fundamental skills such as evaluation, creating structured arguments, challenging media stereotypes, and communication skills, according to the pupils.

Many speak of the role that the skills they gain and the understanding of religious and non-religious world views can play in later life, saying it can help careers such as law and diplomacy, as well as promote better communication in the workplace.

The young people also highlight the importance of religious education on the school curriculum in helping promote academic and personal growth, with some stating that it has been ignored for too long.

Kim Nicholson from St. Francis Xavier School said, “It is encouraging to see pupils recognise how religion and world views can help them develop key skills that are transferable to other subjects and to the future workplace, as well as an understanding of and respect for different worldviews, both in and outside of the classroom”.

Kathryn Wright, CEO of Culham St Gabriel’s Trust, said: “We’ve seen pupils from all ages explore how the study of religion and world views not only brings a real and authentic understanding of the lived experience of being religious or non-religious, but how it can unlock much more. It can spark curiosity and free-thinking, empower and open doors of communication, while helping pupils understand diversity and navigate modern society."