At St Michael's C of E Primary Academy, our RE curriculum is intended to ensure consistency and progression in the school’s approach to Religious Education, enabling children to develop their understanding of Christianity, non-religious worldviews and the other major world religions in order that they develop tolerance and understanding of the local, national and global communities in which they live.
Religious Education is unique in the church school curriculum in that it is a core subject but is not part of the National Curriculum; the 1988 Education Act states that ‘Religious Education has equal standing in relation to core subjects of the National Curriculum in that it is compulsory for all registered pupils’.
St Michael’s C of E Academy provides RE in accordance with the Diocese of Exeter and as a Voluntary Aided Church of England School has adopted the locally agreed syllabus for Devon Schools also drawing from the Understanding Christianity Programme.
The agreed syllabus aims to ensure that all children:
1. make sense of a range of religious and non-religious beliefs, so that they can:
- identify, describe, explain and analyse beliefs and concepts in the context of living religions, using appropriate vocabulary
- explain how and why these beliefs are understood in different ways, by individuals and within communities
- recognise how and why sources of authority (e.g. texts, teachings, traditions, leaders) are used, expressed and interpreted in different ways, developing skills of interpretation
2. understand the impact and significance of religious and non-religious beliefs, so that they can:
- examine and explain how and why people express their beliefs in diverse ways
- recognise and account for ways in which people put their beliefs into action in diverse ways, in their everyday lives, within their communities and in the wider world
- build their sense of identity and belonging, which helps them flourish within their communities and as citizens in a diverse society.
- appreciate and appraise the significance of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning
- develop respect for others, including people with different faiths and beliefs, and to help challenge prejudice.
3. make connections between religious and non-religious beliefs, concepts, practices and ideas studied, so that they can:
- evaluate, reflect on and enquire into key concepts and questions studied, responding thoughtfully and creatively, giving good reasons for their responses
- challenge the ideas studied, and allow the ideas studied to challenge their own thinking, articulating beliefs, values and commitments clearly in response
- discern possible connections between the ideas studied and their own ways of understanding the world, expressing their critical responses and personal reflections with increasing clarity and understanding
- consider their responsibilities to themselves and to others, and to explore how they might contribute to the communities and to wider society.
- develop a sense of awe and wonder in the world in which our children live.
We base our teaching and learning in RE on the key principle that good teaching in RE allows children both to learn about and from religious traditions, world views, non-religious beliefs and by reflecting on what the religious and non-religious ideas and concepts mean to them. Our teaching enables children to extend their own sense of values and promotes their spiritual growth and development. We encourage children to think about their own views and values in relation to the themes and topics studied in the RE curriculum. We also aim to give the children in our care a sense of their place in the world and to understand ideas and beliefs that build on and reach beyond their own spiritual, moral and cultural understanding. We use P4C regularly in our RE teaching to encourage the children’s skills in debate, discussion, critical thinking and listening and learning from others.
Our teaching and learning styles in RE encourage independence and reflective enquiry, enabling children to build on their own first-hand experiences and to extend their knowledge and understanding of religious traditions. We believe that high quality learning is based on making meaningful links across the curriculum and by children learning from first-hand experiences. We therefore organise visits to local places of worship, and invite, where possible and applicable, visitors to come into school and talk to the children about their faith and spiritual experiences.
We recognise the fact that all classes in our school have children of widely differing abilities, so we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children either by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child or by giving children free choice of a range of activities to encourage ‘Learning Without Limits’.
We achieve this in a variety of ways, for example, by:
- providing tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses;
- providing guided tasks (teacher or teaching assistant led)
- including creative learning activities that could utilise other foundation subjects such as art, drama, music and D&T that enable children to work in a more creative way;
- using teaching assistants to support the work of individuals or groups of children who are working independently.
RE and Inclusion
At St Michael’s, we teach religious education to all children, whatever their ability and individual needs. Religious Education forms part of the school’s curriculum policy to provide a broad and balanced education to all. Through our religious education teaching we provide learning opportunities that enable all pupils to make good progress. We strive hard to meet the needs of those pupils with special educational needs, those with disabilities, those with special gifts and talents, and those learning English as an additional language, and we take all reasonable steps to achieve this. (Equality Policy.)
Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship
Through our Religious Education lessons, we teach the children about the values and moral beliefs that underpin individual choices of behaviour. We also promote the school’s Christian Values of Excellence, Nurture, Respect, Integrity, Compassion and Hope and consider attitudes required for understanding citizenship in a democracy. By promoting tolerance and understanding of other people, we hope to enable children to appreciate what it means to be positive members of our multicultural society and to gain understanding of our British Values.
Assessment and Recording of RE:
In line with the school’s policy for assessment, record keeping and reporting, each teacher is expected to take responsibility for the regular assessment of RE; this is done through teacher marking against specific learning intentions as well as through pupil reflection. Each half term, teachers are expected to provide the RE Leader with end of unit assessment data for each child’s RE attainment; this is then fed into the school’s main data system and is used by the RE Leader to track specific children/cohorts as well as overall school attainment in RE. An annual over all judgement is made by the class teacher as to whether the child is below the expected standard, at the expected standards or whether they are working at greater depth. The annual report to parents indicates the effort, progress and attainment made by pupils over the course of the year.
Parents receive a written annual report outlining their child’s achievement in RE once a year, and have opportunities at termly consultation meetings to discuss further.
Monitoring and Review
Management of RE is overseen by the RE Subject Leader in consultation with the HT. The RE leader is responsible for supporting colleagues in their teaching, for being informed about current developments in the subject, for providing a strategic lead and direction for RE in the school and for carrying out the task of reviewing samples of children’s work, observing teaching and learning and gaining a good working knowledge of the impact of RE teaching. She is supported in this by the HT. Staff development takes place through staff meetings, INSET and planned CPD opportunities. The school is part of the St Christopher’s Multi Academy Trust and the subject leader meets with other RE leaders in other school’s in the MAT for the purposes of moderating assessment and provision.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development
Through Religious Education and through opportunities throughout the school’s connected curriculum we provide opportunities for spiritual development. Children learn to work together respecting differences; they consider and respond to questions concerning the meaning and purpose of life. We help them to recognise the difference between right and wrong, through the study of moral and ethical questions, especially from a Christian perspective. We enhance their social development by helping them to build a sense of identity in a multicultural society. Children explore issues of religious faith and values and, in so doing, they develop their knowledge and understanding of the cultural context of their own lives.
The children at St. Michael’s enjoy learning about different religions, world views and why people choose, or choose not to follow a religion. Through their R.E. learning, the children are able to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world and are developing an understanding of other people’s cultures, ways of life and worship. The teaching of RE, incorporating Philosophy for Children at St. Michael’s, makes a vital contribution to the development of children who are able to consider challenging questions, explore and consider different answers, express their opinions and respect others who think differently. Our children’s lives are enriched, and they enrich the lives of others, living our school values of Excellence; Nurture; Respect; Integrity; Compassion; Hope with a knowledge and understanding of Christian expectation and the continuing development of their own spirituality and beliefs.
Children Knowledge Organisers for Different Religions
When children are learning about different religions, they will be given a CKO at the start of the unit and will refer back to this throughout the unit, to support the retention of knowledge. When starting a lesson, the children will refer back to the previous week's learning and have retrieval practice with the use of games such as 'Fastest Finger Finds...'
Below are examples from UKS2 and KS1.