Our RE Curriculum
Religious Education is unique in the school curriculum in that it is neither a core subject nor a foundation subject but 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.
Religious Education is taught in our school because it makes:
“A major contribution to the education of children and young people. At its best, it is intellectually challenging and personally enriching. It helps young people develop beliefs and values, and promotes the virtues of respect and empathy, which are important in our diverse society. It fosters civilised debate and reasoned argument and helps pupils to understand the place of religion and belief in the modern world”. (RE: realising the potential, Ofsted 2013).
This fits with our school ethos that at New Close aims for all children to become proud, responsible, resilient, respectful, aspirational, positive learners. Our aim is to bring learning alive for the children and to make the curriculum as relevant, exciting, and as stimulating as we can make it. We aim to cater for all children’s needs and recognise the fact that children learn best in different ways and at different rates. We value strengths that each child has and develop them, providing support and encouragement along the way. Whilst we are very proud of our academic achievements and expect high standards of work and behaviour from all our children, we place equal importance on the development of social, spiritual and emotional skills.
We deliver RE in line with the Wiltshire Locally Agreed Syllabus. We use the Discovery RE programme as our scheme of work.
By following Discovery RE at New Close we intend that Religious Education will: -
- adopt an enquiry- based approach as recommended by Ofsted, beginning with the children’s own life experience before moving into learning about and from religion.
- provoke challenging questions about the meaning and purpose of life, beliefs, the self, and issues of right and wrong, commitment and belonging. It develops pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, other principal religions, and religious traditions that examine these questions, fostering personal reflection and spiritual development.
- · encourage pupils to explore their own beliefs (religious or non-religious), in the light of what they learn, as they examine issues of religious belief and faith and how these impact on personal, institutional, and social ethics; and to express their responses.
- enable pupils to build their sense of identity and belonging, which helps them flourish within their communities and as citizens in a diverse society.
- teach pupils to develop respect for others, including people with different faiths and beliefs, and helps to challenge prejudice.
- prompt pupils to consider their responsibilities to themselves and to others, and to explore how they might contribute to their communities and to wider society. It encourages empathy, generosity, and compassion.
- develop a sense of awe, wonder and mystery.
- nurture children’s own spiritual development
Discovery RE brings together learning about and from religion, questioning, reflection and spiritual development. Teaching strategies are varied and are mindful of preferred learning styles and the need for differentiation. Each enquiry starts from the children’s own life experiences using these as a bridge into the investigation of the religion being studied. Each Block of work has an overriding question that is the focus of all knowledge, understanding and reflection. Learning is assessed through questions and discussions and children can express their own thoughts and beliefs and empathise with believers of that religion or belief position.
Within each session, children develop their understanding of the learning objective sat within a sequence of lessons. Typically, this follows a structure of:
- Recall prior learning: knowledge organisers, mini quizzes, partner work etc
- Vocabulary introduction: previous vocabulary recapped; new vocabulary introduced
- Everybody reads: short piece of reading based around the theme for the lesson designed to broaden understanding and ensure that reading skills are applied to all contexts
- Task: teacher input and task which links to input and learning objective- this could be independent, paired or group based
- Steps for depth/mastery (look at exceeding statement on progression document): this is an opportunity to extend children’s learning, knowledge and skills for all or some children as appropriate
- Plenary: This the recap/recall/application of skills and knowledge in relation to the learning objective
- Assessment in Discovery RE is both formative and summative. Clear over-arching learning objectives and the key- coloured boxes within the planning allow the teacher to be mindful of the assessment elements within that step that can formatively help them pitch and plan subsequent lessons, and the content which can contribute to the overall summative assessment.
- When assessing RE at New Close teachers are eager to ensure children are making progress with their learning. Therefore, each enquiry has built-in assessment. This task is the formal opportunity for teacher assessment of the children’s knowledge of that religion, depth of critical thinking, and ability to answer the enquiry question. This stand-alone evidence is used in conjunction with other evidence such as records of discussions and annotations from other lessons within the enquiry to assist the teacher in assessing whether a child is working at the expected level or towards or beyond it. Children are assessed over three aspects of learning:
- a personal resonance with or reflection on the material/religion being studied to answer the enquiry question.
- knowledge and understanding of the material/religion being studied to answer the enquiry questions
- evaluation/critical thinking in relation to the enquiry question