As a church school, we are committed to Religious Education. Our Golden rule is embedded across the school, ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated’-Matthew 7 v12. Through Religious Education and our school vision, we hope to ensure that our children develop the understanding and skills needed to appreciate and appraise responses to significant human questions which religion and worldviews address preparing children for life within our school and local, national and global community.
The principal aim of RE is to engage pupils in systematic enquiry into significant human questions which religion and worldviews address, so that they can develop the understanding and skills needed to appreciate and appraise varied responses to these questions, as well as develop responses of their own.
(Derbyshire Agreed Syllabus 2020-2025)
To enable children to explore big questions about life, in order to find out what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that the children can make sense of religious and world views, reflecting on their own ideas and ways of living.
The ambitious, academic RE curriculum at St John’s aims to prepare children for life in modern Britain. We want children to be able to hold informed, respectful conversations with others about Religion and worldviews whilst being able to express their own ideas in a safe and trusted environment, where they live, laugh and learn together.
There are clearly defined ‘end points’ for each key stage, set out in the Derbyshire Agreed Syllabus that teachers follow. These clearly state what the pupils should know and be able to do. The curriculum is sequenced to enable pupils to build their knowledge and skills towards the agreed end points.
It is intended that RE contributes to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all as they learn about the faiths of different people, reflect on their own beliefs and investigate moral and ethical issues. Children will have the opportunity to work with others from different backgrounds, understand cultural differences and influences and learn to show respect for different faiths and cultural diversity.
Aims and Objectives
The curriculum for RE aims to ensure that all pupils at St John’s will:
1. Know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews, so that they can:
2. Express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religions and worldviews, so that they can:
3. Gain and deploy the skills needed to engage seriously with religions and worldviews, so that they can:
Teachers use the Derbyshire Agreed Syllabus and supporting units and the ‘Understanding Christianity’ resource to plan their RE lessons from. Teachers check existing knowledge and understanding at the start of a new unit to find out what they already know. The ‘digging deeper’ element of the Understanding Christianity resource is used to challenge and extend the learning even further.
The curriculum is planned to enable pupils to revisit key concepts and to deepen their understanding. This helps to embed the learning and develop long term learning and mastery.
RE is taught in discrete lessons either weekly, as part of a themed day or even as a block of learning. Individual teachers decide how best to implement their unit. We believe, as a church school, that RE contributes strongly to other areas of the curriculum and the wider school ethos. There are many opportunities for RE learning across other subjects such as art and through themed weeks such as Multi Cultural Week.
Schools have a statutory responsibility to deliver Religious Education to all pupils, except those withdrawn by parents.
There is no single correct way of making appropriate provision for RE as long as the outcomes are met.
In order to deliver the aims and expected standards of the syllabus effectively, the expectation is that there is a minimum allocation of 5 per cent of curriculum time for RE. This is set out in the table below, and based on the most recent national guidance.
36 hours of RE, e.g. 50 minutes a week or some short sessions implemented through continuous
36 hours of tuition per year
(e.g. an hour a week, or less than an hour a week plus a series of RE days)
45 hours of tuition per year
(e.g. an hour a week, or a series of RE days or weeks amounting to 45+ hours of RE)
Planning to ensure continuity and progression
Continuity can be achieved if planning starts from the agreed syllabus and careful attention is paid to what has been taught before and what is likely to follow.
Progression is the development of knowledge and understanding, skills, concepts and attitudes in a key stage and in relation to previous and subsequent key stages. It is achieved through building on earlier learning. It is not just about accumulation of knowledge but concerns a developing ability to deepen understanding by making use of reflective, interpretative and evaluative skills. Pupils should increasingly be challenged to discover the underlying messages of the teaching behind religious traditions, stories, artefacts and ceremonies.
Progression is characterised by the provision of opportunities for pupils to:
Continuity and progression can be achieved when pupils have increasingly challenging opportunities to:
Teaching and Learning Styles
Children are taught in their class groups with a variety of styles being adopted dependent on the activity, knowledge or development stage of the children. Activities are to be differentiated where possible to match the needs and abilities of the pupils and teachers’ planning will reflect this.
In our school, we adopt a range of strategies to allow children to think and consider the big questions that our RE curriculum brings. We aim for deeper learning through thinking and reflection time and encourage teachers to form questions that encourage deep thinking and time to respond to the questions the children may have. Staff are given the freedom to allow the children to lead the learning and explore their lines of enquiry where appropriate.
Subject vocabulary is taught explicitly and modelled by teaching staff across all RE units of work. Pupils are expected to use and understand some of the technical vocabulary linked to their topic. In their discussions and written work. Knowledge organisers support this within lessons.
As much as possible, our RE curriculum aims to bring religion to life, through educational visits, visitors and real artefacts, as well as the wealth of resources available online, including videos of others, particularly of children from other faiths and backgrounds.
Lessons are planned from the supporting units purchased alongside the Derbyshire Agreed Syllabus. The Programme of study gives the statutory requirements for the syllabus. Other units are based upon the ‘Understanding Christianity’ resources, which give the learning intentions and suggested activities for teachers to create their own lessons.
The agreed syllabus requires that all pupils learn from Christianity in each key stage. In addition, pupils will learn from the principal religions represented in the UK, in line with the law. These are Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Judaism. Furthermore, children from families where non-religious worldviews are held are represented in almost all of our classrooms. These worldviews, including for example Humanism, will also be the focus for study.
Religious traditions are to be studied in depth as follows:
Schools should consider the pupils they serve in deciding whether to go beyond the minimum entitlements to learning about religions, which are that pupils should learn from:
Children will encounter Christianity and other faiths, as part of their growing sense of self, their own community and their place within it.
Key Stage 1
Christians and Muslims or Jewish people
Key Stage 2
Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Jewish people
Through good RE teaching during their time in our school, children will have developed the skills and understanding from the RE curriculum, to be able to discuss what they have learned in RE and how it has helped them develop as an individual.
Assessments will reflect the progress that children have made across the different topics.
Topic discussion about prior learning earning at the start of a topic will show that the learning from the previous key stage is embedded.
Children will be keen to talk about RE and their experiences, be able to recall activities and lessons as well as subject content. They will be able to show that they have some understanding of the learning and beliefs of others in their own community and around the world. Children will be able to talk about the need to understand what other believe and the way they live their lives the way they do. Children in Key Stage Two will be able to build on their learning from the EYFS and KS1 and explain how their own learning and beliefs have developed over time.
Our children will show that they love RE, find it interesting and are excited to find out about the lives and beliefs of others.
What do RE lessons look like in school?
RE is delivered weekly at St John’s or RE days are also used to extend a theme. Lessons follow the Derbyshire Agreed Syllabus and use the Understanding Christianity as a resource alongside it.
Good RE lessons are enquiry based, with opportunities for the children to lead the learning.
When looking at a particular religion, the symbol poster is shared at the start of the lesson and displayed for the duration for reference.
The Understanding Christianity Big Frieze is being embedded across the school and this is used at the start of most lessons to help the children understand it more.
Visits or visitors are used to bring Religious Education to life, as well as using real artefacts where possible.
What will the children be learning this year?
What else is happening for RE this year?
Multicultural Week 6.2.23
‘We are one, but we are Many’