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Education Service News Item

Big Response at St Bede's to God and the Big Bang

Sixth Former at St Bede’s School in Redhill were invited to discover, discuss and debate the interaction of science and faith, with engaging and involving sessions ranging from a look at fossils with an evolutionary biologist to a session exploring how we think, using illusions and magic tricks to illustrate, as part of a special all-day conference at the school called God and the Big Bang.

‘The visitors were very intelligent and engaging, and the magic was hilariously awesome, he turned a spoon into a fork in front of my eyes, I'm still a bit confused and in awe about how he did that! Also he totally messed with my mind as he made me think I was psychic when he tricked me with a coin game, this really started to make me contemplate and question whether what I think is real. It was nice to have a day exploring ideas and having the opportunity to ask questions on how science and religion can be compatible’ said Grace.

Grace was just one of the Year 13 students who attended the event which was part of the 6th form ‘Flexible Learning Days’ designed to extend students understanding of the ‘bigger issues’.

With the help of fast-moving, multi-media presentations, students looked at key areas like 'Surprising Science - exploring the nature of the human mind’; ‘Fun with Fossils – are evolution and faith at war?’, and ‘Climate Change: Why do we care?’. Guest speakers at St Bede’s included theologian Dr Hilary Marlow and evolutionary biologist Lizzie Coyle from the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Cambridge; Dr Matt Pritchard who conducted research into atomic physics at Durham before joining the magic circle and becoming an science communicator and magician; and Stephanie Bryant, Cambridge Natural Sciences graduate and God and the Big Bang’s project coordinator.

'We were delighted to host such a worthwhile event,' said Rachel Heard, Deputy Headteacher, ‘The whole day stimulated discussion and allowed for personal reflection. The Q+A session with knowledgeable and articulate experts allowed everyone the opportunity to ask questions and make their own decisions. The event far exceeded my expectations.'

God and the Big Bang is an initiative of the Church of England in collaboration with the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Christians in Science, and Reading University’s Institute of Education.

'I highly recommend the conference as a means of engaging students with world-class scientists who have found that science brings them a greater appreciation of God's creation,' said Revd Nigel Genders, Chief Education Officer at the Church of England.

The Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham, Bishop of Kingston stated, ‘It is very important for the nature of science and the nature of religion, and especially the interaction of the two, to be taught well in our schools. There are many common misunderstandings surrounding science and faith, and God and the Big Bang events are a really effective tool for helping young people to reach a deeper understanding.’