REPRESENTATIVES from Christian, Sikh, Muslim and Jewish communities gathered for the a religious education conference hosted by Hampshire County Council.

More than 60 Pupils and teachers from seven Hampshire schools also attended the event led by the county’s Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SCARE).

The 13-15-year-olds debated the question ‘Does religion matter today, even if you are not religious?’ and discussed the importance of Religious Education (RE) in schools.

They also listened to speeches from theologians and faith leaders and took part in workshops and activities including poster-making.

Attending youngsters received certificates and will set up discussion groups in their schools to discuss their learning.

Council leader Roy Perry, who founded the Hampshire Interfaith Network, said: “The council is recognised locally and nationally for its high quality RE support to schools.

“I am pleased that we were able to give young people the opportunity to interact and share ideas with peers from other schools. It really was a first class event.”

Schools taking part were Oaklands School, Thornden School, Wildern School, Kings School (Winchester), Bishop Challoner School, Bishop Luffa School, Cove School and Horndean Technology College.