Teaching using census data: what does a census tell us about community experience, social experience, religion and worldviews in Cumbria?

Teaching using census data: what does a census tell us about community experience, social experience, religion and worldviews in Cumbria?

Mar 2, 2021

Every ten years, a census of the nation is carried out. There are many questions about our households on that day (this year it will be 21 March), such as who is living there, the ages of those people, and whether they are religious or not.

Why is this relevant?

Well, it is a snapshot in time and is vitally useful to know for our national and local authorities so they can send support and resources in the right direction. It is also a really useful tool to help with teaching maths, history, geography, religious education, community and social experience and worldviews, and can also make the understanding of religion much more real to our young people – yes, there are people in our communities of such diverse religion and worldviews.

The topic is also a tool for us to use exploratory questions to help our young people think about theology, philosophy and our human experience – both in the past and at the time of completing the census.

David Olusoga put together this really useful lesson with Let’s Count on Equality, Representation and the Census to show how social historians can follow the story of individuals and their families to learn a great deal about society from the trail left through the census.

Are you a secondary school in Cumbria?  

Do you want to take part in the Cumbria Student ‘Religion and Worldviews’ Census 2021?   

Jim Connolly, who is the RE and PSHE Head of Department at William Howard School (and a new Trustee on CDEC), has created an online survey for secondary students. The survey of 12 questions will collect valuable data from students on religion and worldviews across Cumbria.  

Teachers will be able to use these statistics as a valuable teaching resource.  If you would like your secondary school to take part in the survey, please contact Jim Connolly on jconnolly@williamhoward.cumbria.sch.uk

Cumbria SACRE has also collated this valuable sheet of questions that teachers can use in lessons to explore the value and experience of the census. There are also some informative links to use in class to delve deeper into how to use the census in your teaching and with your young people.

The last census was carried out in 2011 and tells us much about religion and worldviews in Cumbria, including data that breaks it down into district council areas. Why not quiz your pupils on the Cumbria 2011 statistics for the six principal religions represented in Britain.  The first image shows the questions, and the one below has the answers.  

You can download these as a PDF to use in your classroom.

We also have another resource from Cumbria SACRE for KS3+ RE teachers on Questioning the Question on the Census: What is your religion? which is also very useful. It includes important questions and discussion points to raise with your young people, as well as this concept stretcher below.