Religious Education (RE)
Rationale- What has informed our curriculum design in R.E.?
We believe that Religious education provokes challenging questions about: the ultimate meaning and purpose of life; beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality; issues of right and wrong; and what it means to be human. RE also contributes to pupils’ personal development and well-being, and to community cohesion by promoting mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society. RE can also make important contributions to other parts of the school curriculum such as citizenship, personal, social, health and citizenship education (PSHCE education); the humanities and education for sustainable development. It offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development, deepening the understanding of the significance of religion in the lives of others – individually, communally and cross-culturally.
Intent – what are our aims?
Religious Education is an important element of our broad and balanced curriculum at The Westborough School. Through our RE curriculum, we provide opportunities to develop children’s knowledge and understanding of world religions and reflect on the challenging questions that it provokes. The aims of our religious education curriculum are:
- To develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other religions and consider how the beliefs of others impact on their lives and the lives of others
- To encourage children to ask and reflect on challenging questions.
- To provide opportunities for personal reflection where children can explore their own beliefs (not necessarily religious).
- To encourage children to appreciate and respect the different cultures in today’s society.
Religious Education is a compulsory subject and Local Authorities must adopt their own Agreed Syllabus. The Education Act 1996 states that an Agreed Syllabus must reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, whilst taking account of the teachings and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain. It must be non-denominational and must not be designed to convert pupils to a particular religion. Our school RE curriculum is based on the agreed syllabus for Southend (2018-2023) and it meets all the requirements set out in that document.
Implementation- how do we teach R.E.?
The syllabus results from extensive consultation with teachers and school leaders from both primary and secondary sectors. In particular, there is a clear structure within it which is as follows:
‘all units enable pupils to ‘make sense’ of the religions and beliefs studied, ‘understand the impact’ of these beliefs in people’s lives, and to ‘make connections’ in their learning and their wider experience of the world’ (RE Today)
Lessons are taught both discretely, and where appropriate, are linked to units of work and taught through a cross-curricular approach. Our curriculum is progressive. We build upon the learning and skill development of the previous years, beginning each unit and lesson with teacher assessments of what children already know in order to inform the learning that follows. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills.
Continuous formative assessment identifies those children with gaps in learning, so that all children can fully access the learning. Teachers are free to teach RE flexibly, through timetabled weekly lessons, RE days, RE weeks or a combination of these. The syllabus continues to offer open, enquiring, exploratory RE, suitable for all pupils who have a religious belief of their own as well as those who have no religious faith- the latter form a substantial proportion of pupils in many schools in the areas in which the syllabus is taught.
The following religions are taught as part of the syllabus:
- Christianity (Taught from Foundation through to year 6)
- Islam (Taught year 2, year 3, year 5)
- Judaism (Taught in year 1, year 3, year 5 )
- Hinduism (Taught in year 4, year 6)
Within the Early Years Foundation Stage, the learning outcomes are linked to Christianity and an appropriate range of other beliefs and cultures.
Throughout the year, we are lucky to have a range of visitors that share their understanding with the children and we are carry out a number of visits to places of worship. The local Baptist Minister carries out assemblies half-termly.
Impact: How will we know this?
As a result of our carefully planned and progressive curriculum, children will develop a curiosity for and understanding of different cultures and religions.
We expect children to develop:
- An in depth understanding of religions and beliefs that are studied.
- A thorough engagement with a range of ultimate questions about the meaning and significance of existence.
- The ability to ask significant and highly reflective questions about religion and demonstrate an excellent understanding of issues related to the nature, truth and value of religion.
- A strong understanding of how the beliefs, values, practices and ways of life within any religion cohere together.
- Exceptional independence; the ability to think for themselves and take the initiative in, for example, asking questions, carrying out investigations, evaluating ideas and working constructively with others.
- Significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity, which are shown in their responses to their learning in RE.
- The ability to link the study of religion and belief to personal reflections on meaning and purpose.
- A wide knowledge and deep understanding across a wide range of religions and beliefs.
This will result in individuals that leave Westborough with a sound awareness of the diversity of belief that exists within the local area, Britain and wider global community, as well as an understanding of the importance of our British Values and in particular that of:
‘Individual liberty and mutual respect,
and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.’