Religious Education Intent
As a Church of England school, religious education has a unique and special place as a central subject within our curriculum. It is neither a core nor a foundation subject: the 1988 Education Act states that ‘Religious Education has equal standing in relation to core subjects of the National Curriculum in that it is compulsory for all registered pupils’. We believe that the teaching of high quality religious education enables every child to flourish and live in all its fullness. (John 10:10). RE at St. Stephen’s encourages multi-faith harmony, respect for all and community cohesion. Our RE curriculum is rooted in an enquiry based approach, which aims to promote pupil’s personal, spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Our intention is that, by using an enquiry-based model, children’s critical thinking skills can be developed, their motivation to learn increased, and their knowledge and understanding of, and empathy with people and their beliefs (religious or otherwise) enhanced. This approach takes very seriously the philosophy that children are free to make their own choices and decisions concerning religion and belief. RE does not try to persuade but rather to inform and develop the skills with which evaluation and reflection can take place. Our RE curriculum develops children’s knowledge and understanding of Christianity and of other principal religions. Children develop their knowledge and understanding of religion through the four RE concepts: Belief, Authority, Expressions of Belief and Impact of Belief. Children are encouraged to think critically by using reason to analyse, evaluate and give opinions.
Religious Education Implementation
Religious Education is a statutory subject of the curriculum for all pupils in each year group and ‘should be provided for all registered pupils, except those withdrawn at the request of their parents’. (s 71 SSFA 1998). Parents have the right to request that their child be excused from all or part of the Religious Education provided at school. The syllabus should ‘reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main, Christian, while taking into account the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain’. (s 375 (3) Education Act 1996)
We comply with the legal requirements for the teaching of Religious Education by following the Durham Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education, using the enquiry based approach of Discovery RE (see long term map for RE). Religious Education is taught on a weekly basis in each year group, but is also delivered through termly whole school RE days when the pupils take part in activities designed to further enrich their understanding of a religious tradition or festival. Throughout their time in school, pupils visit a Buddhist centre, Jewish synagogue, Hindu Mandir, Sikh Gurdwara and an Islamic Mosque. In addition to visiting places of worship, pupils also visit our local Parish Church of St. Stephen’s on numerous occasions, along with visiting our local Catholic Church as a contrasting Christian Church. Lessons are planned and delivered in a variety of ways so that all children can participate fully. Interactive, practical activities linked to the themes in the syllabus and other subjects where appropriate, encourage our pupils to discuss their ideas and extend their understanding of difficult concepts and challenging questions. Pupils’ progress in Religious Education is based on the expected outcomes outlined in the Agreed Syllabus and within Discover RE, which have been developed in line with guidance produced nationally. Pupils are assessed at the end of each unit, with a record of the assessment being kept in the pupil’s books.
Religious Education Impact
The children at St. Stephen’s C. E. Primary enjoy learning about other religions and why people choose, or choose not, to follow a religion. Through their R.E. learning, the children are able to make links between their own lives and those of others in their community and in the wider world, developing an understanding of other people’s cultures and ways of life. As such, R.E. is invaluable in an ever changing and shrinking world.