The principal aim of religious education is to explore what people believe and what difference this makes to how they live, so that pupils can gain the knowledge, understanding and skills to handle questions raised by religion and belief, reflecting on their own ideas and ways of living.
(RE Devon and Torbay Agreed Syllabus)
Religious education should give opportunities for children to explore a range of faiths and beliefs, making sense of them, making connections and understanding the impact of them, exploring how and why people put their beliefs into actions. It will help educate for dignity and respect, encouraging all to live well together.
RE is a powerful tool. It can open up children’s awareness of the global community as well as helping them to understand their neighbours and the diversity of belief, and opinions that exist in their locality. It enables them to explore that diversity as well as challenge preconceptions, explore spirituality and consider the impact that religion and belief have on individuals and the world.
RE is a subject that perfectly encapsulates the school’s curriculum drivers. As a rigorous academic subject, it gives children opportunities to build their learning power through learning and applying knowledge. Opportunities for reflection and spirituality allow for developing a sense of self- esteem and relationship; global links are integral to understanding how religion plays a role in people’s lives around the world and finally, it prepares children well for life in modern Britain, allowing them to see through hateful narratives about division.
RE is given at least 5% of curriculum time. Special RE days and visits enhance this provision. It is taught through a variety of pedagogies, such as “Mantle of the Expert”, drama, Godly Play style storytelling, writing, ICT, discussion, interrogating text, visit and visitors, use of artefacts, art, music, thinking skills and reflection.
Knowledge of religious traditions, beliefs and non-religious worldviews are taught alongside the implications of lived faith and what can be learnt from a personal standpoint, regardless of religion. Following broadly the structure of the locally agreed syllabus, across the Key Stages children learn about Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Humanism. This is supplemented with shorter units on Buddhism and Sikhism. Both Key Stages study the same religions at the same time for cohesion across the school. It is taught as a discrete subject although sometimes, links across the curriculum can be found without diluting its integrity. The syllabus follows a spiral
curriculum model, where religions are revisited with increasing depth as the children go up through the school. The Understanding Christianity resource produced by RE Today is used across the four year groups, contributing to an increasingly deeper understanding of the theology and practice of Christian belief.
The children demonstrate progression in their understanding which is evidenced through pupil conversations, lesson visits and book monitoring. It is an academic subject and is assessed accordingly. Assessment is paper-based and monitored by the coordinator. Under a list of expected outcomes for a unit, teachers indicate whether children are on track or not on track with age-related expectations. In line with the school policy on assessment and recording it is expected that each teacher is responsible for the regular assessment of his or her pupils through marking work set. The data gathered is used by the class teacher to ensure that each pupil is set work that is appropriately challenging. Less able and vulnerable pupils are able to access RE and make progress in line with their peers.