Religious education enables children to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions asked by people. At Whittlefield Primary School we develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of the major world faiths, and we address the fundamental questions in life, for example, the meaning of life and the existence of a divine spirit. We enable children to develop a sound knowledge not only of Christianity but also of other world religions, especially those that are the main faiths of children within our school. Children reflect on what it means to have a faith and to develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding. We help the children learn from religions as well as about religions.
It is our intention to lead children use religious education to encourage pupils to learn and develop the positive attitudes of curiosity, wonder and appreciation, commitment, fairness and self–awareness to the beliefs and values of others (Lancashire Agreed Syllabus 2011).
Our teaching aims:
The aims of religious education are to help children:
- Develop an awareness of spiritual and moral issues in life experiences;
- Develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other major world religions and value systems found in Britain;
- Develop an understanding of what it means to be committed to a religious tradition;
- Be able to reflect on their own experiences and develop a personal response to the fundamental questions of life;
- Develop an understanding of religious traditions and to appreciate the cultural differences in Britain today;
- Develop investigative and research skills and to enable them to make reasoned judgments about religious issues;
- Have respect for other peoples’ view and to celebrate the diversity in society.
Teaching and Learning
We base our teaching and learning style in RE on the key principle that good teaching in RE allows children both to learn about religious traditions and to reflect on what the 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 develop their own views and values in relation to the themes and topics studied in the RE curriculum.
Our teaching and learning styles in RE enable children to build on their own experiences and extend their knowledge and understanding of religious traditions. We use their experiences at religious festivals such as Easter, Eid etc. to develop their religious thinking. We organise visits to local places of worship and invite representatives of local religious groups to come into school and talk to the children.
Children carry out research into religious topics. They study particular religious faiths and also compare the religious views of different faith groups on topics such as rites of passage or festivals. Children discuss religious and moral issues using computers and working individually or in groups. Sometimes they prepare presentations and share these with other member of the school in assemblies. The take part in activities with other children from schools very different to our own in order to develop an understanding of diversity.
We recognise the fact that all classes in our school have children of widely differing abilities, and 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, for example, by:
- Setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses;
- Setting tasks of increasing difficulty
- Grouping the children by ability in the room and setting different tasks for each ability group;
- Providing resources of different complexity, adapted to the ability of the child;
- Using classroom assistants to support the work of individuals or groups of children.
We plan our religious education curriculum in accordance with the Lancashire and Blackpool Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education. We ensure that the topics studied in religious education build upon prior learning. We offer opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit, and we ensure that the planned progression built into the scheme of work offers the children an increasing challenge as they move through the school.
We carry out the curriculum planning in religious education in three phases (long-term, medium term and short-term). The long-term plan maps the religious education topics studied in each term during each key stage. Our medium term plan gives details of each unit of work for each term. The RE subject leader keeps and reviews these plans on a regular basis.
Religious education is taught within the guidelines of the school’s equal-opportunities policy.
- We ensure that all our children have the opportunity to gain religious education knowledge and understanding regardless of gender, race, class, physical or intellectual ability.
- Our expectations do not limit pupil achievement and assessment does not involve cultural, social, linguistic or gender bias.
- We aim to teach religious education in a broad global and historical context, using the widest possible perspective and including the contributions of people of many different backgrounds.
- We draw examples from other cultures, recognising that simple technology may be superior to complex solutions.
- We value religious education as a vehicle for the development of language skills, and we encourage our children to talk constructively about their religious education experiences.
- In our teaching, religious education is closely linked with literacy, mathematics and computing.
- We recognise the particular importance of first-hand experience for motivating children with learning difficulties.
- We recognise that the philosophical questions posed by religious education may strongly engage our gifted and talented children, and we aim to challenge and extend them.
We assess children’s work in religious education by making informal judgements as we observe them during lessons. We mark a piece of work once it has been completed and we comment as necessary. On completion of a unit of work, we make a summary judgment about the work of each pupil in relation to the national curriculum levels of attainment. Children are assessed in Attainment Target 1 (learning about religions) and Attainment Target 2 (learning from religions). There is an eight-level scale of expectations for R.E. for 5 – 14 age range. The scale should be used to set standards and expectations and to monitor children’s progress. We record the attainment and use this as a basis for assessing the progress of each child, for setting new goals, and passing information on to the teacher at the end of the year and end of year reports.
The RE subject leader is responsible for monitoring the standards of the children’s work and the quality of teaching in RE. They are also responsible for supporting colleagues in the teaching of RE, for being informed about current developments in the subject, and providing a strategic lead and direction for the subject in school. The RE subject leader annually identifies the strengths and weaknesses in the subject and indicates areas for further improvement in a report to the head teacher and governing body.