The principal aim of religious education is to explore what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can gain the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to handle questions raised by religion and belief, reflecting on their own ideas and ways of living. (Gloucestershire Agreed Syllabus for RE 2017-2022)
The RE curriculum ‘shall reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, while taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain’. (Education Act 1996)
At Meadowside, we acknowledge that every child has an entitlement to religious education and that it is a necessary part of a broad and balanced curriculum. We believe that it is vital for all our children to learn from and about religion, so that they can understand the world around them. Through Religious Education, we want them to develop knowledge and coherent understanding of Christianity and the other principal religious and non-religious views represented in Great Britain; to appreciate the way that beliefs, values and traditions shape life and our behaviour; to develop the ability to make reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues; to widen and deepen the vocabulary they use and to enhance their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
It is important to prepare children and young people for life in a twenty-first-century world, and religion and belief play a central role in local and global affairs. Religious education gives our children an ideal opportunity to find out what matters most to people in a wide range of traditions represented in our county and beyond, and to discern what is of value for themselves as they develop their own ideas and ways of living.
In order to deliver the aims and expected standards of the syllabus effectively, there is an expectation that there is a minimum allocation of 5% of curriculum time for RE. We want our lessons to be informative, engaging and challenging, allowing children to gain a developing understanding of the range of religious and non-religious world views studied, over a period of time. We encourage our pupils to ask questions about the world and to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences. A valuable way to build understanding is through using the key words of religions and religious study so we ensure specialist vocabulary is explicitly taught and used.
We ensure coherence and progression by using the Gloucestershire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education 2017-2022 as the basis of our medium-term planning. This is structured around big questions and takes account of the following core concepts for R.E:
· Making sense of beliefs
· Understanding the impact
· Making connections
This is supplemented by relevant resource books and magazines from R.E. Today and various artefacts and images relating to the religions studied. Our subscription to RE Today ensures all staff have access to current thinking and ideas for the classroom through their termly magazine.
Assessment opportunities are identified in each unit of work and responses are recorded along with any next steps.
There are no presumptions made as to the religious backgrounds and beliefs and values of the children and the staff. We value the religious background of all members of the school community and hope that this will encourage individuals to share their own experiences with others freely. All religions and their communities are treated with respect and sensitivity and we value the links, which are, and can be made between home, school, and a faith community. We acknowledge that each religion studied can contribute to the education of all our pupils. We promote teaching in Religious Education that stresses open enquiry and first-hand experiences wherever possible for both staff and children.
Through their R.E. learning, children are able to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world. R.E. offers our children the means by which to understand how other people choose to live and to understand why they choose to live in that way. They develop an understanding of other people’s cultures and ways of life, which they are then able to communicate to the wider community. Informed dialogue is vital and R.E. promotes dialogue based on mutual respect and understanding, listening to each other’s views without denying differences, and being able to explore disagreements with evidence and argument. As such, R.E. is invaluable in an ever-changing world and links closely with social aspects of learning, science and geography.
Children’s progress can be seen in what they say and do. High quality examples of some of these outcomes are recorded and displayed in class RE books. The Gloucestershire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education is high quality, well thought out and planned to demonstrate progression. If children are keeping up with the curriculum, they are deemed to be making good progress. In addition, we measure the impact of our R.E. lessons through identified activities within the teaching sequence, observing pupils as they work and interact, setting tasks that require specific skills and evaluating completed work after a lesson.
Through pupil voice, children are able to evaluate what matters for them in R.E.