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Religious Education

INTENT

At Southwold Primary School we use the scheme Discovery RE. The scheme clearly states their intent for high quality RE:

“Our belief is that, using an enquiry-based model well, 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, will be 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 can take place.”

Both of these statements are at the heart of RE teaching and learning at Southwold. The Discovery RE scheme of work provides clear opportunities for the intent to be shown in the implementation of RE within the school. The religious education curriculum at Southwold forms an important part of our school’s spiritual, moral and social teaching. It enables children to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions asked by people in our world today.

Key characteristics we want to promote with our children:

    • develop an awareness of spiritual and moral issues in life experiences;
    • develop knowledge and understanding of the six major religions in the UK and world views of those who follow these religions and those who do not;
    • develop an understanding of what it means to be committed to a religious tradition;
    • be able to reflect on their own experiences and to develop a personal response to the fundamental questions of life;
    • develop an understanding of religious traditions and to appreciate the cultural differences in Britain and the world today;
    • develop investigative and research skills and to enable them to make reasoned judgements about religious issues;
    • have respect for other peoples’ views and to celebrate the diversity in society.

Religious Education at Southwold promotes education for citizenship and is a key aspect of our role to promote the British Values of Mutual Tolerance, Respectful Attitudes, Democracy, The Rule of Law and Individual Liberty to our children.

Implementation

We enable children to develop a sound knowledge not only of Christianity but also of other world religions, especially those that are the main faiths of children within our school. Children reflect on what it means to have a faith and develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding. From EYFS to Year 6, national and local guidance (Nottingham and Nottinghamshire agreed syllabus) is reflected through the implementation of RE Discovery selected religions and topics taught.

Our teaching and learning style in RE is based on an enquiry approach using RE Discovery. Each topic contains an enquiry question which pupil are encouraged to consider and answer by the end of the sequence of lessons. This allows children to learn about religious traditions, make links between what they know already and reflect on what the religious ideas and concepts mean to them personally. They study particular religious faiths and also compare the religious views of different faith groups on topics such as rites of passage or festivals. Our teaching enables children to extend their own sense of values and promotes their spiritual growth and development. We encourage children to think about their own views and values in relation to the themes and topics studied in the RE curriculum.

RE lessons standalone however, where there are appropriate links to be made, they are to be encouraged so that the children gain even greater context and understanding to those enquiries and links being made – PSHE is a good example of where there is often a cross curricular link. This in turn is aimed to develop the philosophy of children being able to make their own choices and decisions regarding religion and belief.

Curriculum

EYFS

Children will learn about religion and develop an understanding of religious beliefs, teachings, sources and practices. They will learn about similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country. This will be done by drawing on their own experiences and what has been read in class when comparing different religions and cultures.

From Year One, two religions will be studied each year. All year groups focus three terms on Christianity, whilst each year group has a different second religion to study so that it may be explored in more depth.

Children will learn about the following religions:

    • Christianity
    • Judaism
    • Sikhism
    • Buddhism
    • Hinduism
    • Islam

Throughout the units, children are encouraged to be involved in discussions and follow lines of enquiry which may arise in their lessons. This may require the use of additional resources to those provided within the Discovery RE programme. Where possible and appropriate, it is hoped that the use of visits and visitors may engage the children further and provide them with a deeper and clearer understanding of the content.

Enrichment

Enrichment activities are an important part of our school curriculum as they extend children’s learning through new experiences and opportunities. For example: taking part in RE based assemblies delivered by external visitors of different faiths, visiting places of worship and participating in religious celebrations and festivals.

IMPACT

Our program of study enables children to increase and deepen their knowledge and understanding of key concepts in RE. These concepts relate to the religions and world views studied. The areas of enquiry or key concepts in RE can be described like this:

    • beliefs, teachings, sources of wisdom and authority;
    • experiences and ways of living;
    • ways of expressing meaning;
    • questions of identity, diversity and belonging;
    • questions of meaning, purpose and truth;
    • questions of values and commitments.

The enquiry approach to RE allows children to appreciate and understand what progress they have made during a sequence of lessons. The use of an enquiry question at the beginning of a topic ensures that children are able to focus on the answers they have to that question at the end of a topic.

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