At Greenleys First School, we consider the teaching of RE to be an important part of children’s educational development. It is a vital contributor to helping our children acquire religious literacy and understanding. This supports them to grow up as socially and emotionally secure adults, able to navigate and value the diversity of modern Britain and to make confident personal choices about faith and belief. We follow the Milton Keynes Agreed Syllabus for RE which has been created and widely consulted in partnership with pupils through the Youth SACRE, teachers and RE professionals. We use Jigsaw RE to deliver the content set out in the MK Agreed syllabus.
We believe that the primary religious educator is the parent. Where parents object in conscience to the religious education provided by the school, they may withdraw their children from part or all of the RE curriculum. Where withdrawal takes place, by law a parent takes personal responsibility for the religious education of their child. Further information about the parental right to withdraw from Religious Education is available by clicking here.
As part of our school curriculum, RE promotes the spiritual, moral, social, cultural, mental and physical development and well-being of our pupils (SMSC). By following the MK Agreed Syllabus we ‘reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain’ (Education Act, 1996).
At our school RE teaching is delivered via regular RE lessons and additionally through assemblies. This comprises 36 or more hours per year in KS1.
In summary, we believe that religious education for children:
- provokes challenging questions about the meaning and purpose of life, beliefs, the self, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human. It develops pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, other principal religions, and religious traditions that examine these questions, fostering personal reflection and spiritual development
- encourages pupils to explore their own beliefs (whether they are 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. This also builds resilience to anti-democratic or extremist narratives
- enables pupils to build their sense of identity and belonging, which helps them flourish within their communities and as citizens in a diverse society
- teaches pupils to develop respect for others, including people with different faiths and beliefs, and helps to challenge prejudice
- prompts 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.
At Greenleys First School, by the end of KS1, we aim for our pupils to have made good progress in:
- acquiring and deepening their knowledge and understanding of Christianity and other principal religions represented in Britain and the world
- enriching their understanding of the influence of beliefs, values and traditions on individuals, communities, societies and cultures
- growing a respectful and positive attitude towards other people, honouring their right to hold beliefs different from their own and enabling them in living in a society of increasingly diverse religious character
- making reasoned and informed judgements about religious and moral issues with reference to the teachings of the principal religions represented in Britain
- enhancing their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development by:
- increasing awareness of the fundamental questions of life raised by human experiences, and how religious teachings can relate to and inform them
- responding to such questions with reference to the teachings and practices of religions and to their understanding and experience
- reflecting on their own beliefs, values and experiences in the light of their study.
These aims are achieved by focusing study through a four step enquiry method.
The Key Question for each Enquiry is such that it demands an answer that weighs up ‘evidence’ and reaches a conclusion based on this. This necessitates children using their subject knowledge and applying it to the enquiry question, rather than this knowledge being an end in itself.
Jigsaw RE focuses on critical thinking skills, on personal reflection into the child’s own thoughts and feelings, on growing subject knowledge and nurturing spiritual development and uses the following 4-step model.
Step 1 Engagement (lesson 1 in each unit of work):
The human experience underpinning the key question is explored in the first lesson within the children’s own experience, whether that includes a worldview/religion or not. Relating to this human experience acts as a schema to then help them better understand the worldview being studied (which may be very much outside of their experience)
Step 2 Investigation (lesson 2,3 & 4 in each unit of work):
The teacher guides the children through the enquiry, children gaining subject knowledge carefully selected to assist their thinking about the key question.
The plans for lessons 2,3, and 4 cover the necessary subject knowledge to answer the enquiry questions.
This ensures that the acquisition of the factual information about the religion /belief system being studied is embedded and important, but can be applied critically so that it is not an end in itself.
Step 3 Evaluation (lesson 5 in each unit of work):
This lesson draws together the children’s learning and their conclusions about the key question of that enquiry.
Step 4 Expression (lesson 6 in each unit of work):
Children are taken back to Step 1, their own experience, to reflect on how this enquiry might have influenced their own starting points and beliefs.
SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural)
Every lesson contributes to at least one of these aspects of children’s development and many contribute to more. The structure of each lesson allows for a great deal of spiritual reflection through the 'Pause Points' and 'Help Me Reflect' parts of the lesson.
The 'Connect Our Learning' section in each lesson allows children to work with and share ideas with their peers.
Throughout the enquiry-approach, children are allowed to examine moral issues and challenge their own thinking by considering what that worldview says. Specific examples would be the enquiries asking how somebody might lead a good life.
Key Stage 1
The focus in Key Stage 1 is Christianity and Judaism, but referring to other faiths where appropriate, particularly if there are members of other faiths in the class. All questions should be addressed in the teaching of Christianity. In the teaching of other faiths the school choses the focus that best suits our overall school cohort.
View the unit focus for each year group by looking at the Re section of Long Term Plans for each year group.
Early Years Foundation Stage
Early Years Foundation Stage RE is not a statutory requirement at EYFS except where pupils are enrolled in school, but best practice ensures that a variety of religious experiences and concepts should be covered, particularly under the Early Learning Goals relating to Understanding the World. These goals ask children to talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They need to know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions. Some of these relate easily to religious and cultural practices such as festivals and observance. Stories from religious traditions provide a rich literary and cultural heritage and provide them with a range of experiences and emotions. Encountering the diversity of faiths and beliefs within their community at this early age raises awareness of the diverse world around them and prepares them for future learning. Suggestions for topics, themes and questions are given in Appendix A below.
- While the statutory requirement for RE does not extend to children under compulsory school age, it can form a valuable part of the educational experience of children in the EYFS.
- It can contribute particularly to
- personal, social and emotional development
- communication, language and literacy
- knowledge and understanding of the world
- creative development
For more information, click on the links below: