At Durham Gilesgate Primary School we recognise both the importance of Religious Education and our legal requirement to teach it. Our pupils come from a wide range of backgrounds and through our RE curriculum we seek to encourage understanding and empathy and to enable pupils to develop their own sense of identity and belonging.
RE therefore contributes to the aims of the whole school and has an important part to play as part of our broad and balanced curriculum.
RE provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self, the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. It develops the pupils’ knowledge and understanding of some of the principal religions, including Christianity, and how both religion and other world views impact on individuals and groups in local and national contexts. RE offers opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development. It encourages pupils to explore their own beliefs (whether they are religious or not) in the light of what they learn. RE encourages respect for all, including those with differing faiths and beliefs, as pupils develop understanding and appreciation of our diverse society and world. RE helps to challenge prejudice and discrimination.
RE consists of three, inter-linking elements:
- Knowledge and Understanding of Religion
- Critical Thinking
- Personal Reflection
It is our intention that knowledge and understanding of religion will involves investigation of and enquiry into the nature of religion and beliefs through the four RE concepts: belief, authority, expressions of belief and impact of belief.
Critical thinking will require children to analyse and evaluate. Children will have the opportunity to give their own opinions and consider alternative arguments. They will therefore develop their ability to articulate their own views and form their own opinions. Personal reflection will develop the children’ ability to reflect on religion in relation to their own beliefs, values and experiences and the influence of theses on their daily life, attitudes and actions. It is introspective, subjective and private.
In Early Years Foundation Stage RE is found in Knowledge and Understanding of the World and is developed through talk.
In Key Stages 1 and 2 RE is taught as a discrete subject usually on a weekly basis but it can also be taught in blocks if a visit or visitor means that the learning is more appropriate in this way. Our long-term planning is based on the Durham Agreed Syllabus framework. Our medium-term planning has been written with advice from the Local Authority RE advisor and weekly planning is adapted from this, being enhanced using other resources and opportunities where available, including visits and visitors. The RE curriculum and sequence of lessons taught ensure a good balance of the three elements of ‘Knowledge and Understanding of Religion’, ‘Critical Thinking’ and ‘Personal Reflection’ although they will not all be present in every lesson.
We teach subject specific vocabulary in RE and children use this in their talk and writing. Quality first teaching in RE will allow children to use speaking and listening skills to explain, discuss or debate, whilst developing their critical thinking skills. Our curriculum drivers support the RE curriculum, particularly the ‘values’ driver. RE is also a good way to learn about cultural
heritage and positively acknowledge the diversity in our school population and in the United Kingdom. By doing this we seek to enthuse our children with knowledge, encourage respect and tolerance and give each individual time for personal refection.
We expect that the majority of children will achieve at age related standards in RE at the end of each year. We recognise that some children may not achieve this standard but we will expect that they have made good progress from their starting point. We also recognise that some other children will exceed age related standards and we will have deepened learning
for these children.
Children’s knowledge will build progressively over time and both teachers and parents will be able to see this in their RE books and other work that they produce, similarly their work will reflect the new RE specific vocabulary that they have learned. By talking with children, we will be able to gauge their understanding and application of their critical thinking skills. In our lesson’s pupils can make personal progress through reflection, empathy, developing respect and appreciation of others but this is not assessed.