Child with love heart

RSE – A Panoramic View

John Cook is Head of Religious Education at St. Mary’s High School, Hereford. He describes the unique way in which A Fertile Heart brings a whole new perspective to the task of delivering RSE and why it’s not just beneficial for the pupils but for the teacher as well.

In December 2019 Martin Scorsee urged the viewing public on social media not to view his latest film release ‘The Irishman’ on their phones or tablet. He wanted people to wait and see the film in the cinema on a full wide screen. In a strange sort of analogy, I think this is how I see the difference that the A Fertile Heart syllabus makes.

When you approach the whole question of relationships and sex education you can view via a small screen phone approach and just see the immediate and small picture of ‘Now’. This then invites a quick fix sticking plaster approach that does not answer any of those necessary ‘Big Screen’ questions of ‘Why are we here?’, ‘Who made us?’ ‘Where are we going?’ and ‘What is the point and meaning of this life?’

If you do not have a proper philosophical and anthropological full wide screen vision of human relationships, you are going to see it all with too narrow a lens. A failing of many secular RSE schemes is just that. They proceed from too narrow a viewpoint because they are relativistic and reductionist about the grandeur of the human person. One of the great myths in current ideologies is the idea of a ‘View from nowhere’. Think of an East End character born and bred who has the belief that everyone else in the country has an accent except themselves! This is the myth of the ‘view from nowhere’. You cannot teach RSE in a moral vacuum or from a purely utilitarian standpoint. Nothing is value-free.

The A Fertile Heart curriculum provides a full wide screen syllabus that presents the whole “film” so to speak of life, love, friendship and sexual identity based on logic, reason and science and therefore includes not excludes Christian belief. This means the teaching is not based on the premise of ‘Relativism’ but knowable and observable objective truths.

I am sure that we can all agree that there are many overlaps between Religious Education and RSHE. Our fundamental aim is to teach what is ‘Good, True and Beautiful’. I cannot recommend Fertile Heart highly enough to enhance and enrich the full panoply of the provision for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of your pupils who are making that demanding but exciting journey through adolescence. And like many good quality teaching resources, the educator themselves draws great wisdom and encouragement from delivering the material. Fertile Heart gives you, the teacher, a unique opportunity to learn alongside and with your pupils –in loco parentis- which lies at the heart of all authentic education and to renew oneself in that mission and purpose is humbling and richly rewarding.

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