Latest News

Research Report Published

Capture1‘Big Ideas in Religious Education’ led by Barbara Wintersgill from the University of Exeter was published in November 2017. The aim of the project is to address issues concerning curriculum content selection, curriculum coherence and subject relevance in Religious Education (RE) in the 21st century by applying the theory of ‘Big Ideas’. The project, to which James was part of, identified of Principles and Big Ideas for RE, which can then be used as criteria for selecting and sequencing subject content.

Book Chapter Published


Learning to Teach Religious Education in the Secondary School: A Companion to School Experience (Learning to Teach Subjects in the Secondary School Series) 3rd Edition (Routledge, 2017) edited by L. Philip Barnes was published on 4 Sep 2017. This volume includes a brand new chapter not in the two previous editions about ‘Inclusion’ written by James. This explores issues of SEND in the RE classroom as well as representations of minority faiths.


Book Review

The International Journal of Christianity and Education recently published a review of Religious Education in the Secondary School and a couple of excerpts can be found below:

Praise 1Praise 3

Praise 2

Christianity, Education and Contemporary Culture:

International Conference – Canterbury Christ Church University, Friday 7 July – Sunday 9 July 2017

James will be delivering a paper on the Friday evening entitled: “Teaching ‘as one having authority’: Implications for a Christian Educator”


AML Award Winner

Julie Smith editor of Iron Sharpens Iron was awarded the 2016 AML award for Religious non-fiction. The AML congratulates Julie M Smith,  Kofford Books, and all of the contributors [including me] for bringing new light, insight, and ideas to Mormon studies.  


Religion and Nationhood

James has contributed to a new volume, edited by Brian Gates. This has recently been published – Religion and Nationhood: Insider and Outsider Perspectives on Religious Education in England. “This has the potential to make a valuable contribution to ongoing debates in RE.”


AML Awards

As-Iron-Sharpens-IronWe are excited to be part the 2016 Association for Mormon Letters awards finalists in the Creative Non-fiction and Religious Non-fiction categories. The book is by Julie M. Smith, editor.  As Iron Sharpens Iron: Listening to the Various Voices of Scripture. Greg Kofford Books. Contributors: Julie M Smith, Michael Austin, Mark T. Decker, Nicholas J. Frederick, Heather Hardy, Ronan James Head, James D. Holt, Jason A. Kerr, Jared Ludlow, Steven L. Peck, Joseph M. Spencer, Walter E. A. van Beek, Miranda Wilcox, Walker Wright, Benjamin Peters, and John Durham Peters.

In this unique volume, fictionalised dialogues between the various voices of scripture illustrate how these differences and disagreements are not flaws of the texts but are rather essential features of the canon. These creative dialogues include Abraham and Job debating the utility of suffering and our submission to God, Alma and Abinidi disagreeing on the place of justice in the Atonement, and the authors Mark and Luke discussing the role of women in Jesus’s ministry. It is by examining and embracing the different perspectives within the canon that readers are able to discover just how rich and invigorating the scriptures can be. The dialogues within this volume show how just as “iron sharpeneth iron,” so can we sharpen our own thoughts and beliefs as we engage not just the various voices in the scriptures but also the various voices within our community (Proverbs 27:17).

Church Universities’ Certificate in Anglican Church Schools Studies

From September the University of Chester will be running the Church Universities’ Certificate in Anglican Church Schools Studies. There is a level 7 postgraduate option for serving teachers and those who already have a degree. The level 7 Certificate will give someone 60 Master’s Credits that can be transferred into the Master’s Degree at the end.

The webpage is live now:…/anglican-school-studies

 It will be 3 Saturdays for one year of study, or one Saturday per year for 3 years (and some outisde of University study).


Awards Evening at the Macclesfield Academy


 On 20th July 2015 James was asked to present the prizes and speak at the Macclesfield Academy awards evening. James presented the inaugural James Holt Award for Spirituality. One of the high schools James attended was Henbury High School- a forerunner of the Macclesfield Academy. James spoke fondly of his time there and especially of his inspirational RE teacher; Ted Banks.

Meet the Mormons


On Tuesday 28th April James is a special invited guest panellist following a special screening of  a 78 minute cinema movie called ‘Meet The Mormons’ followed by a short Q&A panel session. This event is for education and faith leaders in the York area. The cinematic film ‘Meet the Mormons’ reached the top 10 in the USA box office and examines the very diverse lives of six people – the humanitarian, coach, fighter, bishop, mum and candy bomber. The trailer can be viewed at It takes viewers on a journey into the day-to-day realities of individuals living in the U.S., Costa Rica, Nepal and beyond. From their individual passions to their daily struggles, each story paints a picture as rich and unique as the next while challenging the stereotypes.


The news is coming thick and fast this week!

James has been invited to speak at the forthcoming Education Week in July at the University of Oxford.


Education Weekend 2015: Oxford invites any who wish to experience the rich learning atmosphere of Oxford, England to immerse themselves in three days of information, discovery, and conversation. It invites any who wish to think about the world as it is, how it has been, and how it might be. It welcomes big ideas. It welcomes varieties of faith. It welcomes the Tradition of Enquiry.

Please join us for this interdisciplinary and interfaith conference that aims to exchange ideas on the theme “The Tradition of Enquiry: A Forum in Pursuit of Scholarly and Spiritual Learning.” A wide array of talks, seminar discussions, and small tutorials after the Oxford style of learning will be given by Oxford faculty and affiliate scholars of various disciplines and faiths.

Please visit for more details.


A book launch event hosted by the Faculty of Education at the University of Chester




Announcing the publication of Religious Education in the Secondary School. Now available at all good bookshops including Amazon. Don’t forget to leave a review


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