‘RE is like the Tardis. Despite the small space it occupies in the curriculum, it is huge, encompassing nothing less than humanity’s most searching questions, its deepest hopes, the history of the world’s beliefs and their diverse manifestation in the modern world.’ (NATRE)
RE must be provided for all pupils in state funded schools in England. This is a legal requirement and is also a necessary part of a ‘broad and balanced curriculum.’
At North Marston CE School we make RE an enjoyable learning experience; we offer challenging and effective RE to pupils, encouraging them to their creativity and use higher order thinking skills that will impact on all their learning. We recognise that effective teaching and learning starts with a key question and that good RE always includes engagement, reflection, response and evaluation (personal and critical).
We believe that Religious Education at North Marston should enable our pupils to:
- Acquire and develop knowledge and understanding of principal religions represented in the United Kingdom;
- Develop an understanding of the influence of beliefs, values and traditions on individuals, communities, societies, and cultures from the local to the global;
- Develop the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religions and moral issues, with reference to the teachings of the principal religions represented in the United Kingdom;
- Enhance their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development;
- Develop positive attitudes of respect towards other people who hold views and beliefs different to their own, and towards living in a society of diverse religions and beliefs.
At North Marston Church of England School the teaching and learning of Religious Education takes into account the Christian ethos of the school. In the life of the school there is evidence of Christianity as a living faith and a clear expression of Christian values is given. The school values every child as a part of God’s creation and ensures spiritual, moral, social and cultural growth.
The Bucks Agreed Syllabus for RE states teaching time requirements as follows:
- Key stage 1 36 hours per year
- Key stage 2 45 hours per year
Organisation and content
- The RE curriculum map, learning objectives and schemes of work are kept in each year group’s planning folder.
- The RE curriculum map provides a yearly overview of how RE is taught in the school. It shows the topics that each year group will deliver across the three terms of the academic year. Each year group can change the order of topics if desired.
- Learning objectives are highlighted, and must be met through the delivery of the RE topic during the term.
- Care is taken to ensure that pupils have the opportunities to develop their understanding, knowledge, skills and concepts as they move through the school.
- Skills such as observing, questioning, discussing, evaluating and reflecting are encouraged in RE, as with many parts of the curriculum. Sensitivity to others and a readiness to listen to others’ viewpoints are strongly encouraged.
The Development of RE
In both key stages schools are encouraged to be responsive to a religious community with a significant local presence, or a secular world view, where appropriate.
At North Marston CE School we make RE an enjoyable learning experience. RE is taught in accordance with requirements of SACRE. Delivery of RE can be through Prayer Spaces, RE Days (whole school, key stage, class), individual lessons, or any organisational arrangement between. There will also be some cross curricular coverage of RE including teaching through other subjects, whole school events, assemblies and collective worship. Visitors and pupils have opportunities to lead collective worship.
In our drive to ensure our pupils leave North Marston School with a strong understanding about other religions and cultures, children across the school will take part in RE Days each term so that they are prepared for life in modern Britain. In the Autumn Term this will link to a festival such as Sukkot, Christmas, Diwali or Hanukkah. In the Spring Term whole school days are planned around Chinese New Year and Easter. In the Summer Term whole school days are planned around Eid, Summer Solstice, Values and Care for the World.
Local clergy and other outside professionals are involved in the delivery of RE. Classes are also encouraged to visit our local church regularly. We recognise that there are children of widely different abilities in all classes, so we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child.
We achieve this in a variety of ways by:
- Setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses;
- Setting tasks of increasing difficulty (not all children complete all tasks);
- Grouping children by ability in the room and setting different tasks to each ability group;
- Providing resources of different complexity depending on the ability of the child.
Resources are selected appropriately to support the teaching and learning of specific objectives.
EARLY YEARS FOUNDATION STAGE
Religious Education is statutory for all pupils registered on the school roll and is not, therefore, a legal requirement for much of the Foundation Stage. It may, however, form a valuable part of the educational experience of children throughout the stage. There is no recommended time allocation for RE in the Foundation Stage, however RE should be clearly identified on a teacher’s planning.
A range of activities with a specific RE focus, relating to The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework should be provided. During the Foundation Stage, children may begin to explore the world of religion in terms of special people, books, times, places and objects and by visiting places of worship. They listen to and talk about stories. They may be introduced to religious words and use their senses in exploring religions and beliefs, practices and forms of expression. They reflect on their own feelings and experiences. They use their imagination and curiosity to develop their appreciation and wonder of the world in which they live.
Religious content should be drawn primarily from Christianity, then from other religions particularly those represented amongst the pupils. During the Foundation Stage it is not required, nor is it appropriate to cover the many aspects of several world religions. Religious Education involves ‘Learning about Religion’ and ‘Learning from Religion’. Children need to encounter explicit religious material and begin to reflect on and consider religious and spiritual feelings, experiences and concepts. They also need to be given opportunities to ask and respond imaginatively to puzzling questions.
SPIRITUAL, MORAL, SOCIAL & CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
Religious Education makes a distinctive and substantial contribution to the delivery of SMSC. Children can:-
- Learn about beliefs, values, and the concept of spirituality.
- Reflect on the significance of religious teaching in their own lives.
- Develop respect for the right of others to hold beliefs different from their own.
- Show an understanding of the influence of religion on society.
- Appreciation and understanding of different cultures, religions and traditions.
Like all other subjects, teachers make ongoing informal assessments to inform planning and support differentiation of tasks. Practical assessment provides evidence of progress through both Learning about Religion (AT1) and Learning from Religion (AT2).)
Children’s learning in RE is recorded in a ‘Reflection Journal’. Teachers are encouraged to keep a class ‘Big Book’ over a year and include examples of children’s work, reflections, photographs of practical activities, visits, speakers, displays etc to show the impact of learning. Whole school RE days are recorded through a Big Book which is kept to provide information and evidence of skills and progression across the year groups.
Planned progression built into the RE curriculum means that the children are increasingly challenged as they move through the school. Progress in RE can be characterised by: Acquiring wider and more detailed knowledge of religious beliefs and practices; Deepening understanding of the meaning of stories, symbols, events and practices; More fluent and competent use of religious language and terminology; and Increased levels in skills of responding to questions of identity, meaning, purpose, values and commitment.