Humanist School Volunteers kicks off in Swindon

The British Humanist Association held its first training course for Humanist School Volunteers today as part of its major initiative to provide support to teachers to improve lessons about Humanism in schools.

The course hosted in Swindon trained 11 humanist volunteers to work with teachers at the planning stages of lessons so that pupils and students can consider humanist perspectives to life’s big questions as part of a fair and balanced curriculum.

The training marks the launch of a major national education programme that aims to train over 100 humanist volunteers across England in its first year.

This programme is timely as more teachers are delivering lessons on Humanism for the first time following the publication of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales A Review of Religious Education in England, which includes a non-statutory National Curriculum Framework for RE that puts the teaching of Humanism firmly alongside that of the major religions. The report was endorsed by the Secretary of State for Education and is seen as an important step towards ensuring that RE is fully inclusive, reflects the full range of beliefs in the local community, and is relevant to the lives of young people.

Belinda Neal, Secretary of Swindon Humanists, said: ‘The 2011 census showed that 30.5% of people in Swindon said they had ‘no religion’, and in October 2013 the Swindon Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) ratified a decision to co-opt a Humanist representative to sit on the committee. It is clear that there is a growing need for non-religious people to contribute in a meaningful way to the education and ensure that all young people experience values-education that reflects the broad range of beliefs in our local community, including non-religious beliefs and values.’

Sara Passmore, Head of Education and Promotion at the BHA, said: ‘The British Humanist Association recognises the need to ensure all young people are able engage with provoking and challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. The training of volunteers to support local schools is one way we can help teachers to engage with what can be a difficult subject and for us to provide much needed support, advice, and guidance.’


For further comment or information contact Sara Passmore, Head of Education, by email at or by telephone on 07795412765.

Further details about this project can be found at

Schools can request volunteers at

Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on ‘faith’ schools:

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

(First posted here: