Professor Docherty appointed as Theological Advisor

12/11/2018 by Sinead Staunton

Susan Docherty

Newman’s Head of Theology, Professor Susan Docherty, has recently been appointed as a theological advisor by the Catholic Education Service to its project group on reforming The Religious Education Curriculum Directory. This document serves as the foundation for RE programmes in all Catholic primary and secondary schools in England and Wales. Originally published in 1996, it was updated in 2012. Recent significant changes in the educational landscape, including the national GCSE reforms of 2015 and the publication of the final report of the Commission on Religious Education in September of this year, will inform this new revision of the Curriculum Directory.

Professor Docherty brings to the advisory forum particular expertise in the area of the use of the bible in Religious Education. Her two most recent publications on this subject are: ‘A new dialogue between biblical scholarship and Religious Education,’ British Journal of Religious Education 40/2 (2018); and ‘Scripture and Religious Education: Jesus as ‘messiah’ and ‘divine son’ – insights from recent New Testament scholarship,’ in Whittle, S. (ed.) Religious Education in Catholic schools: perspectives from Ireland and the UK (2018: Oxford: Peter Lang), pp. 193 – 207. She also hosted a conference at Newman University in September of this year bringing together a network of researchers and practitioners to reflect on the way in which the Catholic theological heritage can enhance the work of educators.

Commenting on the news of her appointment, Professor Docherty said, “I am looking forward immensely to the opportunity to join this panel of theological and educational experts from within the Catholic community and beyond. It is important that we regularly consider what kind of Religious Education best serves the needs of pupils in publically-funded Catholic schools and also fosters the common good of our society. This role enables me to carry on Newman University’s long and proud tradition of contributing to developments in the fields of education and theology.”