As a Voluntary Aided Church of England Primary School, Religious Education is at the heart of our curriculum. We believe high standards of care and love are an integral part in the quality of teaching and learning across the whole curriculum. Our school Christian vision of ‘life in all its fullness’ applies to all areas of our school. The two great commandments given by Jesus will underwrite the life of our school; they are to ‘love God’ and to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. It is our aim for both of these instructions to be evident in the whole life of the school, in the relationships between all members of the community, pupils, staff and parents, and also in our safeguarding responsibilities. Our school vision is firmly embedded in our teaching or RE. Our curriculum provides many opportunities to realise the four key areas of our vision statement:
- Wisdom, Knowledge and Skills
- Hope and Aspiration
- Community and Living Well Together
- Dignity and Respect
Our school values are also an explicit part of our RE curriculum.
Aims of RE
Through Religious Education pupils will be enabled to:
- develop and extend knowledge, understanding and awareness of the Christian faith and other religious traditions
- develop an understanding of the beliefs, values and traditions of individuals, communities, societies and cultures
- develop the ability to make informed judgements about religious and moral issues, with reference to the teachings of the principal religions represented in Great Britain
- enhance their spiritual, moral, cultural and social development by:
- Developing an awareness of the fundamental questions of life raised by human experiences, and of how the Christian faith and other religious teachings can relate to them
- responding to such questions with references to the teachings and practices of the Christian faith and other religious traditions, and to their own understanding and experience
- o reflecting on their own beliefs, values and experiences in the light of their study.
The school uses the LDBS scheme of work for RE which covers the six main world religions and a number of thematic units for Upper Juniors. The content of the curriculum is in the main part Christianity. Children have at least an hour of RE taught each week which is separate to the children’s entitlement for collective worship.
We provide the children with a rich and varied RE curriculum. Teaching methods include:
- Questioning and opportunities for reflection
- Investigative work using religious artefacts, library books and the internet
- Opportunities for the children to respond practically through use of art and drama
- Opportunities for writing and recording in books
- Use of videos to support the children’s learning
- Visits or ‘virtual’ visits to places of worship
- Interviews and discussion with people of different faith backgrounds
- Use of children’s own experiences as a resource
Enquiry Based Approach
Our RE curriculum engages and challenges our pupils through an exploration of core concepts and questions. Each unit of work has an overall ‘Big Question’ which is explored through a subsidiary question each lesson (E.g. Big question: What is it like to live as a Jewish person? Subsidiary question: What is the Torah and how is it used in the Jewish faith?). We provide pupils with a balanced RE curriculum which enquires into religions and world views through theology, philosophy and the human and social sciences. This is presented to the children as believing, thinking and living.
- Theology – believing: Looking at where beliefs come from, how they have changed over time, how they are applied differently in different contexts and how they relate to each other.
- Philosophy – thinking: Finding out how and whether things make sense, dealing with questions of morality and ethics and asking questions about reality, knowledge and existence.
- Human/Social Sciences – living: Exploring the diverse ways in which people practise their beliefs and engaging with the impact of beliefs on individuals, communities and societies.
Areas of enquiry:
There are six key areas of enquiry which the children will cover. These are:
- Beliefs, teachings, sources of wisdom and authority
- Ways of living
- Ways of expressing meaning
- Questions of identity, diversity and belonging
- Questions of meaning, purpose and truth
- Questions of values and commitments
Topics covered in each year
Christianity – Who made the wonderful world and why?
Christianity – Why is Christmas special for Christians?
Christianity – Why do Christians believe Jesus is special?
Christianity – What is so special about Easter?
Christianity – How did Jesus rescue people?
Christianity – Who cares for this special world and why?
Christianity – Why did Jesus teach the Lord’s Prayer as a way to pray?
Christianity – Why are saints important to Christians?
Christianity – Why is each person important in the Nativity story?
Judaism – What is it like to live as a Jewish person?
Christianity – What is the story of Noah really all about?
Christianity – Why is Easter the most important festival for Christians?
Islam – What does it mean to be a Muslim?
Christianity – What responsibility has God given people about taking care of the world?
Judaism – Why are they having a Jewish party?
Christianity – What are God’s rules for living?
Christianity – How does the symbol of light help us to understand the meaning of Christmas for Christians?
Christianity – Why did Jesus tell stories?
Christianity – Who is the saint of our school? What is the story of our school’s name?
Christianity – How do Easter symbols help us to understand the meaning of Easter for Christians?
Sikhism – What do Sikhs believe? How did the first five Sikh Gurus shape Sikhism?
Christianity – Why do Christians make and keep promises before God?
Hinduism – How do Hindus worship?
Christianity – How do Christians believe following Jesus’ new Commandment and his greatest commandment make a difference?
Christianity – How do Advent and the feast of Epiphany point towards the true meaning of Christmas?
Christianity – What do the miracles tell us about Jesus?
Christianity – Do fame and Christian faith go together?
Christianity – Who is the most important person in the Easter story?
Christianity – Why is liturgy important to many Christians?
Buddhism – What is Buddhism?
Islam – How do the five pillars of Islam help a Muslim to show commitment to God (Allah)? Christianity Should every Christian go on a pilgrimage?
Christianity – Is the Christmas message of peace still relevant for today’s world?
Christianity – Who is Jesus?
Christianity – What are the Beatitudes and what do they mean to Christians?
Christianity – What is Holy Communion and how does it build a Christian community?
Christianity – What is the Bible’s big story?
Judaism – What does it mean to be a Jew?
Hinduism – What does it mean to be a Hindu?
Christianity – What can we learn from wisdom?
Christianity – How do art and music convey Christmas?
Christianity – How did belief in God affect the actions of people from the Old Testament?
Christianity – What do the monastic traditions within Christianity show us about living in community?
Christianity – What happens in churches during Lent, Holy Week and Easter Sunday?
Christianity – How has the Christian message survived for over 2000 years?
Sikhism – What does it mean to be a Sikh?
Buddhism – What does it mean to be a Buddhist?
Christianity – Why is Remembrance important?
Christianity – How would Christians advertise Christmas to show what Christmas means today?
Thematic Unit – What might the journey of life and death look like from a Christian perspective?
Christianity – What is the contemporary Anglican Church?
Christianity – How does the Christian festival of Easter offer hope?
Thematic Unit – How does faith shape/influence our community?
Thematic Unit – Rules and responsibilities – who decides?
In addition to the weekly RE lessons, a number of ‘Pause days’ are planned in for the year. These are opportunities for the whole school to come off timetable and reflect on a particular topic for the day. Pause Days have included Harvest, Easter and a Global Neighbours Pause day. These days will often be creative and thought provoking days including lots of opportunities to explore the theme through art, drama and other practical ways.
Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education. Any parents who are considering doing this are asked to discuss it with the Headteacher. Children who are withdrawn will be supervised.
In order to ensure that children’s attainment is high in RE and that they are making excellent progression we use the RE skills ladder below to monitor and assess the skills that the children are developing.
The Bigger Picture
Our Chaplaincy Programme provides an excellent opportunity for partnership between our school and the local church community. Our chaplains, who are all local clergy, support us in three different ways.
The chaplaincy team model and encourage good relationships within the school community, providing a role model for staff and pupils in relating to and serving the needs of others.
The chaplaincy team provide a visible focus of faith. They are an accessible forum for faith in the school, which is consistently positive and inclusive.
The chaplaincy team support teachers with the delivery of Christianity units within the RE curriculum.
RE Steering Group
The RE Steering Group supports RE and Collective Worship within the school. Each year two children who have a particular interest in RE are selected from each class in the Juniors. They are responsible for, amongst other things, assisting with assemblies and special services (e.g. Easter), preparing and leading acts of class worship and carrying out surveys.
Reflection spaces in classrooms
Each class has a reflection area. This is an area where children may go to be quiet and still. The school values will be displayed here and there may be a candle, a bible and other visuals to encourage children to think and reflect. Each class also has a cross which forms part of a prayer trail around the school.