‘RE explores big questions about life, to find out what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can make sense of religion, reflecting on their own ideas and ways of living.’
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.
At Leigh we aim for children to:
- engage in meaningful, informed and academic dialogue regarding those of other faiths and none;
- develop evaluative responses of their own to the questions and issues addressed in RE;
- Teaching therefore should equip pupils with systematic knowledge and understanding of a range of religions and worldviews, enabling them to develop their ideas, values and identities;
- To value the ideas of others and their own;
- To challenge their own ideas by respectfully learning about other viewpoints;
- Pose questions related to religious teaching that relate to their own personal experiences;
- Develop their skills of empathy with others in society;
- Discuss challenging questions related to the purpose of life, beliefs about God and issues of right and wrong in what it means to be a human;
- To develop and express insights in response to religious learning and agree or disagree respectfully;
- They should learn to articulate clearly and coherently their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences while respecting the right of others to differ;
- To provide children with vocabulary so they can engage in dialogue and participate positively in our society, with its diverse religions and worldviews.
Our units of study cover the content of the Kent agreed syllabus that 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 these are represented through discussion as children are encouraged to reflect and share their own views. These worldviews, including for example Humanism, will also be recognised to ensure education is inclusive of religions and non-religious worldviews.
Religious Education is taught weekly for an hour in pure year group cohorts to ensure progression of knowledge and skills so that the curriculum is coherent across key stages. In addition, each Class will conduct a visit to a religious site or a visit to the school to enrich the RE curriculum to meet a member of a religion beings studied. During units of study, detailed in our unit plan, children will have opportunities to handle artefacts, explore sacred texts, use draw and role plat, respond to videos/images/art/music and dance and meet leaders from local religious communities. Importantly, children are provided opportunities to partake in moments of quiet reflection, use ICT to explore religion and compare religions and worldviews during discussions. Debating and communicating belief and ideas and having the confidence to develop their own responses and be respectful of the differing views of other. We actively teach children how to respond to others is a respectful way and acknowledge differing viewpoints before expressing their own.
Teachers utilise knowledge and vocabulary maps and progression to ensure that knowledge and skills is built upon sequentially and that children are have the knowledge and verbal skill set to express their views.
We ensure children develop knowledge as they:
- Talk about religious stories from world religions, those represented in the UK as well as Christianity;
- Recognise the main beliefs or teachings in different religions;
- Identify features of religious life including practices, worship, festivals and rites of passage;
- Recognise vocabulary associated broadly with discussion of religious education and language specific to specific faiths and cultures;
- Name and recognise religious symbols and artefacts
We encourage and teach children to:
- Recognise their own experiences and feelings in response to content;
- Recognise that there are similarities and differences in their lives and the lives of others;
- Identify what they find interesting about religions, their beliefs, practices and ways of life;
- Question what they find puzzling in religious stories;
- Say what matters to them and talk about how to care for others and ideas of morality.
There are no presumptions as to the religious backgrounds, beliefs and values of the children, families and staff We value all religious and non-religious backgrounds of the school community and endeavour to encourage the children to share their experiences with others freely in a respectful and caring environment. We recognise that each religion studied can contribute to the education of all our pupils and stress that open enquiry and first-hand experiences benefit all in the promotion of the British Values. However, we acknowledge and respect the right of parents to withdraw their child from Religious Education.
This year we are organising a visit to or from the main faiths studied in the curriculum which are detailed on our RE Unit Plan. We hope to inspire children through this first hand experiences to be curious and ask meaningful and insightful questions of members of our community that
We aim for our curriculum to create curious children who enjoy learning about other religions and why people chose or chose not to follow a religion and celebrate the differences between us but also the similarities that bind as one global community.
Leigh Primary School is situated in a less diverse part of the United Kingdom culturally and we feel it is crucial that children have opportunities to meet and visit people from other faiths to broaden their cultural awareness and enrich their understanding of worldviews that they would otherwise not have opportunities to explore or experience.
We aim for our children to be able to:
- Make links between their own lives and those of others in their community
- Have a good knowledge of other cultures and ways of life
- Extend their knowledge and understanding of religions and beliefs with a broad vocabulary
- To be able to interpret religious symbolism in a variety of forms
- To reflect on meanings and offer their own informed insights into religious views
- Explore ultimate questions and values in relation to a range of contemporary issues in an ever-changing society.
In Early Years Foundation Stage children encounter religions and worldviews through special people, books, times, places and objects and by visiting a place of worship in their locality. They listen to and talk about stories and are introduced to subject specific words and use all their senses to explore beliefs, practices and forms of expression. Throughout the year, they ask questions and reflect on their own feelings and experiences. They use their imagination and curiosity to develop their appreciation of and wonder at the world in which they live.
In RE the children explore through purposeful play and through a mix of adult led and child-initiated activity, provide these opportunities for pupils:
Communication and Language
- Children listen with enjoyment to stories, songs and poems from different communities and traditions and respond with relevant comments, questions or actions
- They use talk to organise, sequence and clarify thinking, ideas, feelings and events
- Children answer ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences in response to stories, experiences or events from different sources
- They talk about how they and others show feelings
- They develop their own narratives in relation to stories they hear from different communities.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Children understand that they can expect others to treat their needs, views, cultures and beliefs with respect
- They work as part of a group, taking turns and sharing fairly, understanding that groups of people need agreed values and codes of behaviour, including adults and children, to work together harmoniously
- They talk about their own and others’ behaviour and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable
- Children think and talk about issues of right and wrong and why these questions matter
- They respond to significant experiences showing a range of feelings when appropriate
- They have a developing awareness of their own needs, views and feelings and be sensitive to those of others
- Children have a developing respect for their own cultures and beliefs, and those of other people
- They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships.
Understanding the World
- Children talk about similarities and differences between themselves and others, among families, communities and traditions
- They begin to know about their own cultures and beliefs and those of other people
- They explore, observe and find out about places and objects that matter in different cultures and beliefs.
Expressive Arts and Design
- Children use their imagination in art, music, dance, imaginative play, role play and stories to represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings
- They respond in a variety of ways to what they see, hear, smell, touch and taste.
- Children are given access to a wide range of books, poems and other written materials to ignite their interest.
‘It is the essential knowledge that pupils need to be educated citizens, introducing them to the best that has been thought and said and helping to engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.’
Religious Education is integral for children to be educated citizens by enabling them to develop opinions, beliefs and values, and by promoting the virtues of respect and empathy, which are important in our diverse society. It fosters civilised debate and reasoned argument, and helps pupils to understand the place of religion and belief in the modern world.
Children at Leigh have a coherently sequenced curriculum in Religious Education which ensures they have the foundation of knowledge in to order to not only accept differences between members of society, but celebrate, appreciate and be respectfully inquisitive about diversity in many respects including religion. They are also able to access a range of up to date books all written about the different religions of the world.
We build upon the curriculum by organising a visit to or from members of the faith community each year. Sometimes this in on site but where possible in the religious houses of key religions studied such as Canterbury Cathedral, Local St Mary’s Church, Bromley Reform Synagogue and Regents Park Central Mosque. In addition, workshops are organised whereby visits to the school are organised to teach key year groups about Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism.