West Sussex SACRE Youth Voice Conference debates religion in the modern world

Conference organisers with Richard Burrett, chairman of West Sussex SACRE
Conference organisers with Richard Burrett, chairman of West Sussex SACRE

Students have explored religion in the modern world at an annual youth conference.

The West Sussex SACRE Youth Voice Conference was launched last year and Bishop Luffa School in Chichester was once again privileged to have year-eight RE ambassadors from a number of schools taking part in this year’s event at the Bognor Regis campus of Chichester University.

Led by year-nine students, the conference brought together a diverse range of speakers to lead workshops where the ambassadors could debate the theme ‘in our modern scientific world, is there any place for religion?’.

Pupils explored Baha’i, Islamic, Humanist, Jewish and Quaker views and heard from experts from Oxford, Southampton and Sussex universities.

Richard Burrett, chairman of West Sussex SACRE and West Sussex County Council cabinet member for education and skills, said: “I was very impressed by the quality and breadth of experience of the wide range of speakers who contributed to the conference, and by the highly engaged and thoughtful way in which the students took part in the discussion groups.

“I found the event extremely interesting, informative and worthwhile and would like to congratulate all those involved in contributing to such a successful event.”

Through a joint collaboration between Blue Flag Teaching School Alliance, Chichester Diocese and West Sussex County Council, pupils from Bishop Luffa, The Bourne in Southbourne and Davison High and St Andrew’s High schools in Worthing worked together through the year to plan the conference.

Ollie Dixon, one of the year-nine student leaders, said: “I found the conference very beneficial and a great joy to organise. A great thanks to all the brilliant speakers.”

The four schools involved in organising the conference were joined by Holy Trinity in Crawley, Steyning Grammar School and The Regis School in Bognor for the debates and workshops.

Year-eight student Bella Hamilton said: “I liked hearing other people’s views in response to this question but I so enjoyed the talks by the different religious speakers.”

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First Youth SACRE in county is well received