By Sixth Form Student Blazej Skowron
On Monday 7th March All Saints’ was the host of an engaging RS curriculum focused event organised by the Cheltenham Educational Partnership (CEP). The conference focused on the issues of crime and punishment, providing an opportunity for learning and discussing the issues surrounding the topic. We were lucky enough to have Bishop Rachel attend as a guest speaker for the conference. As the Anglican Bishop for HM Prisons in England and Wales, Bishop Rachel speaks on behalf of the Anglican church in The House of Lords and spoke to students about the importance of this position. Throughout the conference students had the opportunity to ask Bishop Rachel questions about her role and also issues within the UK prison system.
Students from All Saints’, Balcarras and Cheltenham College worked together during the conference whilst sixth formers from All Saints’ and Cheltenham College managed the event. Following a talk and Q&A from Bishop Rachel, students worked together in groups studying criminal profiles and deciding suitable sentences. Students also learned about Alpha courses in prisons, watching interviews from reformed convicts who found faith through the program. Following these activities, all the information was culminated into RS course specific talks from our Mrs Fox and CC’s Dr Dunning, who both ran through comprehensive resources to help students understand how to apply their knowledge.
Towards the end of the conference students spectated both a guided Q&A with Bishop Rachel and a debate led by sixth formers from ASA and CC. Questions were raised about the issues of reformation, crime prevention and the state of our own prison system. The following debate was on the topic of Capital punishment. All Saints’ Sofiya Kuzniatsova and Blazej Skowron were opposing the use of capital punishment and Cheltenham College’s students were arguing in favour of it. The debate brought together many issues already discussed (cost of prisons, reformation, deterrence and discrimination). Both sides delivered well researched points that raised questions for both students and Bishop Rachel. A vote was taken before and after the debate and interestingly, despite the well delivered arguments from both sides, the consensus from the post-debate vote remained unchanged.
Overall, the conference was a brilliant opportunity for everyone attending to further their knowledge on the topic both for the RS course and to be aware of contemporary issues surrounding the topic. We are very grateful to Bishop Rachel for coming and for all the work done by the CEP and especially Mrs Fox for organising the event.