Making Every RE Lesson Count

Six principles to support religious education teaching

By: Louise Hutton , Dawn Cox


Or purchase digital products from our partners:


Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 216mm x 135mm
Pages : 192
ISBN : 9781785835186
Format: Paperback
Published: January 2021

Written by Louise Hutton and Dawn Cox, Making Every RE Lesson Count: Six principles to support religious education teaching brings together the latest curriculum developments with evidence-informed practice and shares practical strategies for use in the RE classroom.

Writing in the practical, engaging style of the award-winning Making Every Lesson Count, Louise and Dawn provide teachers of religious education with the means to help their pupils unpick the big questions of religious belief and practice, and of morality and philosophy – the things that make us human.

Making Every RE Lesson Count is underpinned by six pedagogical principles – challenge, explanation, modelling, practice, feedback and questioning – and shares simple, realistic strategies that RE teachers can use to develop the teaching and learning in their classrooms.

Each chapter explores a different principle in theory as well as in practice, and concludes with a series of questions that will inspire reflective thought and help teachers relate the content to their own work in the classroom.

Furthermore, the book brings together two key strands in RE teaching – namely, what RE teachers teach and how they teach it – and the authors consider these strands through the disciplinary lenses of theology, philosophy and the social sciences. And, in so doing, Louise and Dawn place these disciplines at the heart of teaching and learning in the RE classroom.

Written for new and experienced practitioners alike, Making Every RE Lesson Count will enable teachers to improve their students' conceptual and contextual understanding of the topics and themes explored across the breadth of the RE curriculum.

Suitable for RE teachers of pupils aged 11–18.

Picture for author Louise Hutton

Louise Hutton

Louise Hutton is an experienced teacher of RE who is currently an assistant head teacher at a large comprehensive school in Poole, where she also leads on staff development and teaching and learning. She is passionate about ensuring that her colleagues are research-informed and focused on high-quality teaching strategies in their subject areas.

Click here to read Louise Hutton’s blog.

Picture for author Dawn Cox

Dawn Cox

Dawn Cox has been teaching RE for 20 years and is currently a head of department in Essex. She has held many other roles in and out of RE, including advanced skills teaching and senior leadership roles, and also runs a local RE network. Dawn regularly presents at national and international conferences, including researchED and specialist events such as Strictly RE.

Click here to read Dawn Cox’s blog.


  1. Making Every RE Lesson Count is absolutely brilliant, and an essential book in the library of every RE teacher. I particularly appreciate the accessible examples from practice, and how the authors view the subject through three distinct lenses. I will be using this perspective to train my next RE PGCE cohort, and we have already stocked our university library with copies of the book.

  2. Making Every RE Lesson Count is a valuable addition to the Making Every Lesson Count series. Each chapter begins with a classroom scenario to contextualise or provoke reflections and the significance of the principle being advocated. Significantly, each chapter also features a set of reflective questions to support the interrogation of the six key pedagogical principles - challenge, explanation, modelling, practice, feedback and questioning - from the viewpoint of praxis. Furthermore, there are diagrams, tables, illustrations and other helpful presentation techniques which make the text reader-friendly and appealing. An extensive bibliography adds further value to the text. 

    The authors, both experienced RE practitioners in secondary schools, recognise that religious education is in a period of transformation and set out some of the challenges that this important subject is currently facing. They emphasise two factors that might lead to strong student outcomes: pedagogical content knowledge and quality of instruction. Hutton and Cox are quick to point out that RE is a multidisciplinary subject and provide an excellent account of how three disciplines - theology, philosophy and the social sciences - can provide both teachers and students with specific lenses through which to study religions and worldviews.

    Making Every RE Lesson Count is based on one of many conceptual frameworks which is concerned with responding to the changing educational landscape. Notwithstanding the fact that RE itself is experiencing crises and calls for reforms, overall, this wonderful and easy-to-read book is a positive contribution to the subject which takes account of research and contemporary concerns about raising the quality of RE. 

    Written for new and seasoned practitioners, the book is guaranteed to leave readers with thought-provoking and inspiring ideas about the subject. In other words, thinking about RE will be influenced and, simultaneously, practice will be affected. The book is interspersed with genuine practical examples of how to do good RE, based on the authors' framework, which can be transferred directly to classroom teaching. Subject leaders will also find sufficient information to evaluate their departmental practices and offer workshops to their colleagues.  

    In essence, Making Every RE Lesson Count is an excellent guide that has the potential to refresh the soul of teaching RE, especially in secondary school contexts.
  3. Drawing on their vast personal and teaching experiences, Louise Hutton and Dawn Cox take the teaching of RE to an extra level with Making Every RE Lesson Count. They have produced an inspiring, challenging yet practically supportive analysis of RE in terms of extending the content's relevance to the learner. The focus is on encouraging interaction through a range of opportunities and strategies to develop religious, cultural and language awareness and a better understanding of their own views. 

    The authors have adopted a -˜three lenses' approach - encompassing theology, philosophy and the social sciences - to encourage readers to consider further development of a challenging curriculum with a purpose. They then marry the -˜what we teach' structure to the recognised -˜how to teach' principles of the Making Every Lesson Count series. The result is an enthralling, challenging and, on occasions, thought-provoking book based on the key skills of challenge, explanation, modelling, practice, feedback and questioning. Readers will also gain from the reflection questions at the end of each chapter to promote self-analysis and confidence. 

    Overall, this book is a great addition to the debate on extending the RE curriculum and I highly recommend it to RE teachers in all settings.
  4. This accessible yet challenging book espouses an approach to religious education which balances the disciplines of theology, philosophy and the social sciences. Practising what they preach, Louise Hutton and Dawn Cox show RE teachers how to reflect on the principles which inform their work. They diagnose the widespread and well-meant strategies which result in mediocre RE and prescribe significantly deeper thinking about their aims and outcomes. They bring the latest pedagogical research into direct conversation with RE content. Teachers who make use of this book will undoubtedly raise the standard of RE teaching in their schools and contribute significantly to the religious, literacy and cultural capital of their students.
  5. Making Every RE Lesson Count is perhaps the book that the RE community has been waiting for, perhaps without realising it. There are a few books which you tell trainee RE teachers that they must read; however, if they read nothing else but this, they would be far better equipped than I was for many years.

    Hutton and Cox have expertly turned their current classroom expertise into a really useful and practical guide to improving teaching practice in the RE classroom - it's considered, well thought-out and clearly articulated. The Making Every Lesson Count principles are utilised and demonstrated with RE examples, giving immediate guidance to help improve even the most experienced of teachers' lessons. I found myself nodding along while reading it, realising that things are so well explained and justified that this could raise standards in RE in a way few other resources could.

    I implore every single RE teacher to get a copy of this book. 
  6. Making Every RE Lesson Count contains so much that can help every single RE teacher, at any stage of their career. Louise and Dawn have read the research and listened and talked to the experts, but their key strength is that their every thought is about the classroom and how applying what they have learned can improve their pupils' learning. As a consequence, this book does what they suggest any good curriculum does: it enables growth beyond the articulated content. Any teacher of RE can read this confident that it will enhance the teaching and learning in their classroom.
  7. This is a really exciting contribution to the ongoing conversation about what makes for great RE. It is a celebration of the richness and complexity of human identity and world views, and a clarion call to teachers to share this with their pupils in the classroom. Making Every RE Lesson Count provides practical tools that empower teachers to challenge and support young people to think beyond their own experience of the world, and it rightly acknowledges teachers as those who effect meaningful change. I am sure that this book will play a significant role in the continuing evolution of RE in secondary schools.
  8. This book is written in a wonderful conversational style with questions for self-reflection as well as numerous practical suggestions. Readers will benefit from the wisdom and insights of Louise Hutton and Dawn Cox, who draw on a wealth of classroom experience rooted in research and evidence-informed practice. They outline the benefits of using disciplinary lenses such as those of theology, philosophy and the human/social sciences. They demonstrate this very effectively through approaches to content selection, types of questioning and giving feedback. They explain the merits of a hermeneutical approach as well as advocating for a fluid approach to curriculum design. Through their numerous and diverse pragmatic examples, such as using story, pictures, analogies and knowledge organisers, the authors demonstrate that every teacher of RE can make every lesson count.
  9. Making Every RE Lesson Count is a tour de force. This book is precisely what the RE community needs: by linking educational theory to the six principles of great teaching and learning, it raises the bar for all involved in curriculum planning. Louise Hutton and Dawn Cox have produced an invaluable resource for colleagues to think about, discuss and plan really cracking RE.
  10. If there is one subject in the curriculum that needs to make every lesson count it is RE, and so Making Every RE Lesson Count is the book that all teachers of the subject have been waiting for.

    This is essential reading for all RE teachers whether they are NQTs or experienced subject leads. Louise and Dawn confidently lead the call for -˜team RE' to embrace research and pedagogical theory. With a keen eye on what works and minimising workload, this book covers a diverse range of topics from disciplinary perspectives to effective feedback. The reflective questions at the end of each section also make effective prompts for department meetings or CPD sessions.

    Making Every RE Lesson Count is definitely a book I will be using and recommending. In fact, I think this book has become my CPD programme for the year!

Write your own review