Subject Leader : Shauna Scott
‘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.’ Wakefield Agreed Syllabus, 2018
In RE pupils will have the opportunity to:
Know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews, so that they can:
- describe, explain and analyse beliefs and practices, recognising the diversity which exists within and between communities and amongst individuals.
- identify, investigate and respond to questions posed, and responses offered by some of the sources of wisdom found in religions and worldviews.
- appreciate and appraise the nature, significance and impact of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning.
Express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religions and worldviews, so that they can:
- explain reasonably their ideas about how beliefs, practices and forms of expression influence individuals and communities.
- express with increasing discernment their personal reflections and critical responses to questions and teachings about identity, diversity, meaning and value, including ethical issues.
- appreciate and appraise varied dimensions of religion.
Gain and deploy the skills needed to engage seriously with religions and worldviews, so that they can:
- find out about and investigate key concepts and questions of belonging, meaning, purpose and truth, responding creatively.
- enquire into what enables different individuals and communities to live together respectfully for the wellbeing of all.
- articulate beliefs, values and commitments clearly in order to explain why they may be important in their own and other people’s lives.
How is the content / theme chosen?
The content is chosen to make effective links with key themes and ensure coverage of the expectations as set out in the Wakefield Agreed Syllabus for RE, government guidance and the EYFS framework. At Normanton Common Primary Academy we ensure a clear, sequenced progression, which is taught systematically for all pupils to acquire the intended knowledge and skills to allow children to think and consider the big questions that the RE curriculum brings. The content may be adapted or changed, based upon the needs or interests of specific cohorts.
How do we ensure progression of knowledge and skills?
At Normanton Common Primary Academy we have in place, for each subject area, a knowledge and skills progression document, which is used for planning, to ensure sequenced and appropriate content for specific year groups. Teachers are clear on the learning and expectations for each year group, as this has been carefully selected and mapped out so that children are building on prior knowledge and skills each term and each year. Within these documents there are opportunities for differentiation, in order to meet the needs of all learners.
How is the subject taught?
RE lessons are carefully planned through our themes, so that valuable links can be made across other subjects where appropriate. A two year, long term rolling programme maps out the coverage of the discrete teaching and learning opportunities for children to develop and embed specific skills. This ensures coverage of the National Curriculum for RE across Key Stage 1 and 2, the Agreed Syllabus and works within and beyond the Early Year’s Framework across our Foundation Stage. Within each discrete block of RE teaching, class teachers carefully plan the specific outcomes for their year group, based upon age appropriate knowledge and skills, as well as the needs of the cohort or individuals within it.
Planning aims to challenge children to learn about a range of religions and non-religious worldviews whilst also considering the big questions of life. At our school we want to ensure that our children go out into the world with the knowledge and skills to understand the beliefs of others and live in today’s diverse and ever changing world. There is a strong focus on developing the vocabulary of our children and retention of this through practical learning opportunities. New vocabulary is taught and applied through speaking and listening opportunities. Although we actively introduce and are ambitious with the language we use, we understand the importance not to over complicate this language with very young children, but ensure underlying principles and meanings of the words are taught and understood.
Children are introduced to and reminded of key vocabulary. Questioning is used to check their understanding and prior knowledge, before new concepts, skills or knowledge are introduced.
Modelling is used by class teachers to clarify expectations, children are then given plentiful opportunities to consolidate, build upon and apply basic skills and knowledge, across a series of lessons, as well as across the year. When children are learning about a subject through discrete teaching sessions they are explicitly told that today they are going to be ‘learning about religions and beliefs.’ They are then reminded of the key skills that they will learn, use and develop within this subject
In RE these are:
We are learning to:
These skills are taught through a ‘key question approach’, whereby questions open up the content to be studied. As well as the discrete teaching of knowledge in RE lessons, RE opportunities are planned into times such as assembly to ensure that children have regular opportunities to embed their knowledge and practise their skills throughout the year. Children regularly engage in in practical, ‘hands on’ learning such as visits out, as well as visitors to school, to enhance their RE experiences further.
RE is one of our key subject drivers in developing the ‘Challenge & Educate’ side of our school curriculum. Through studying a range of religions and world views, children learn about and are taught to challenge stereotypes connected to cultural and religious background. They are educated that differences should be celebrated and are not a barrier to achievement.
Pupils also have additional opportunities to extend their RE knowledge and skills through cross-curricular work. Strong links with other subject areas, particularly English, PSHE and the arts, ensure that children have numerous opportunities to apply skills across the curriculum. Opportunities to learn about significant people, including religious leaders, are carefully chosen so that children are continually developing the sense of the importance of RE in the wider world. Texts are carefully chosen to encourage reflective thinking and challenge stereotypes.
Teaching RE in EYFS
Planning and teaching in EYFS is similar to that in Key Stage 1. The children are expected to develop a specific set of skills and knowledge appropriate to their age. This is often beyond the expectations that are set out in the end of year Early Learning Goals, as we prepare our children with the knowledge and skills they will need in RE, ready for year 1. As well as topic work and the discrete teaching of skills and knowledge, children in EYFS are given the opportunity to explore, investigate, question and continually practise and embed their language and leaning through the areas of provision set up in the indoor and outdoor learning environments.
How do we know that our children are making progress?
Ongoing assessments of the children’s knowledge and skills is observed by the class teacher. Misconceptions are addressed and next steps carefully planned. Children’s outcomes are compared to the subject specific skills and knowledge documents. At the end of a block of discrete teaching (or term) subject leaders gather an overview of children’s outcomes in each subject area. This is used to plan appropriate next steps for their future learning, as well as provide an overview of learning within a subject area across the whole school. End of year assessments are collated for children at the end of EYFS and Key Stage 1.
How do we promote our Curriculum Intent?
Children have opportunities to explore and develop the knowledge and skills to understand the beliefs of others and live in today’s diverse and ever changing world. Children have many opportunities to work collaboratively, taking responsibility for their own learning. R.E. allows pupils to explore different religions, cultures and beliefs and pupils then develop their tolerance towards others’ beliefs and celebrate diversity.
We are committed to ensuring children understand the value and importance of celebrating diversity and difference, ensuring tolerance and respect are embedded in our school community. R.E. gives children opportunities to explore and celebrate diversity within their local communities and world-wide and consider the influence of different religion throughout the world. Pupils learn and communicate what we can learn from religions about what is ‘right/just’ and what is ‘wrong/unjust’; how and why we care for others and our world and the positive impact that individuals can have.
RE provides children opportunities to think and consider the big questions that the RE curriculum brings and gives the skills to talk about this confidently; it also provides opportunities for pupils to ask their own questions about their understanding of religions and people of the world. Pupils are able to celebrate diversity and respond sensitively to people who are different from themselves. R.E. gives the opportunity to express ideas of religion, spirituality, diversity and identity in a wide variety of ways using specific vocabulary taught. Children throughout all key stages are exposed to, read and retell a wide variety of texts and stories that provide opportunities to understand and use language.
What wider opportunities are provided for our children?
- Visits to places of worship.
- Visitors to school.
- School Nativity plays.
- Whole school and class assemblies which include opportunities for reflection.
- Religious observances such as Carol Concerts, Easter Cards, Chinese New Year etc.
Religious Education in action...