Religious Education at Woodnook Primary School
At Woodnook Primary School Religious Education is taught in accordance with the Lancashire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education 'Searching for Meaning-What is it to be human?' (2021). This is an ambitious curriculum and outlines the curriculum intent and methods of implementation that will enable all pupils to achieve well and attain high level outcomes by the end of each key stage. The curriculum is taught from Reception to Y6 and reflects the fact that religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, while taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religious traditions represented in Great Britain. Our Curriculum is 50% Christianity. This along with, Islam, which reflects our school community, and Hindu Dharma are the progressed religions. In addition, the other world religions taught are Judaism, Buddhism and Sikhism, albeit not progressively. All religions, including people of no faith, and their communities are treated with respect and sensitivity.
The syllabus aims to support our pupils personal search for meaning as they explore what it means to be human. It follows the Lancashire ‘Field of Enquiry' medium term planning model, but also specifies knowledge and skills which build towards clear goals at the end of each key stage. This ensures that the curriculum is progressive, clearly sequenced and suitably ambitious. It is rooted in disciplinary knowledge based in theology, social sciences and philosophy.
Throughout their time at Woodnook Primary School our pupils will revisit key concepts in different contexts. For Christianity the three key ideas are God (creator and sustainer), Jesus (God incarnate) and the Church (a community of believers). When teaching about Islam the three key ideas are Tawhid (belief in the oneness of Allah), Iman (faith) and ibadah (acts of worship). When teaching about Hindu Dharma the three key ideas are Brahman, dharma and samsara. Not all concepts are will be taught explicitly about in each year. (See the concept Maps in Section 8 Of the Lancashire Agreed Syllabus 2021).
We recognise the variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds from which our pupils come. The taught syllabus is not designed to convert pupils, or to promote a particular religion or religious belief. As a school we maintain that teaching about religions and worldviews should be sufficiently fair, balanced and open. We aim to promote mutual respect and understanding, whilst not undermining or ignoring the role of families and religious or belief organisations in transmitting values to successive generations.
By learning about and from religion we aim to enable our pupils to become more open-minded, respectful and achieve greater self-awareness. The knowledge, skills and attitudes developed through RE can thus make a significant contribution to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development to promoting British Values and developing community cohesion and is essential if pupils are to be well prepared for life in our increasingly diverse society. Pupils need to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to make sense of the complex world in which they live so that they can 'respect religious and cultural differences and contribute to a cohesive and compassionate society' (RE Review 2013). We believe that through the teaching of RE we can contribute to pupils’ personal development and well-being and develop community cohesion by promoting mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society.
Religious Education provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human. Pupils learn to weigh up the value of wisdom from different sources, to develop and express insights in response, and to agree or disagree respectfully.
Pupils are encouraged to articulate clearly and coherently their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences so that they can hold balanced and well-informed conversations about religions and worldviews whilst respecting the views of others.
Our curriculum for Religious Education aims to ensure that all pupils:
1. Know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews, so that they can:
· describe, explain and analyse beliefs and practices, recognising the diversity which exists within and between communities and amongst individuals;
· identify, investigate and respond to questions posed, and responses offered by some of the sources of wisdom found in religions and worldviews; and
· appreciate and evaluate the nature, significance and impact of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning.
2. Express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religions and worldviews, so that they can:
· explain reasonably their ideas about how beliefs, practices and forms of expression influence individuals and communities;
· express with increasing discernment their personal reflections and critical responses to questions and teachings about identity, diversity, meaning and value, including ethical issues; and
· appreciate and appraise varied dimensions of religion or a worldview.
3. Gain and deploy the skills needed to engage seriously with religions and worldviews, so that they can:
· find out about and investigate key concepts and questions of belonging, meaning, purpose and truth, responding creatively;
· enquire into what enables different individuals and communities to live together respectfully for the wellbeing of all; and
· articulate beliefs, values and commitments clearly in order to explain why they may be important in their own and other people’s lives.
(A Curriculum Framework for Religious Education in England' Religious Education Council October 2013)
Planning is undertaken on a half-termly basis using the Key Questions for each year group. Our planning for RE uses the Lancashire ‘Field of Enquiry’ of Shared Human Experiences (We), Beliefs and Values (What do they believe?), learning about Living Religious Traditions (How does that belief impact on their life?) and a Search for Personal Meaning (Me). The grids that we use enable teachers to be clear about the knowledge, concepts, understanding and skills that should be taught across the school.
Although Religious Education is taught as a separate subject discipline, opportunities arise in lessons for pupils to apply knowledge and skills from other subject areas, for example, in English, art, drama, computing. This ensures that the curriculum is taught in a creative and engaging manner as well as being knowledge rich and ambitious. Quality teaching in Religious Education, with well-planned lessons, support our pupils' learning. Our pupils are engaged in both learning about religion and learning from religion, through a broad range of teaching strategies, with effective use of specific resources, artefacts, technology, food, stories and sacred texts. When appropriate, and where possible, use is made of home links and the pupils' own knowledge and experiences. We enrich the curriculum by organising visits to places of worship in the immediate vicinity of the school and our pupils will make at least one visit to a place of worship during their time at Woodnook Primary School.
In the Early Years we also follow the Early Years Statutory Framework (2021) where Religious Education is found in the specific area ‘Understanding the World’ within the ELG ‘People, Culture and Communities’. The knowledge, skills and understanding that should be acquired by the end of the reception year is to ‘Know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.’ (Early Years Statutory Framework 2021)
In the Early Years Religious Education can also make an active contribution and support development within other areas of learning and development, in particular: Communication and Language, Literacy, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Expressive Arts and Design, Understanding the World .
Through effective Early Years practice our pupils are encouraged to follow lines of enquiry, ask and answer questions and discuss and express their ideas.
We aim to avoid stereotypes within our teaching of RE. Attempts are made to ensure that examples of religious figures reflect all aspects of diversity within society.
Our school curriculum meets the requirements of the 1988 Education Reform Act (ERA). The ERA stipulates that Religious Education is compulsory for all pupils, including those in the Foundation Stage who are less than five years old. We note the Human Right of parents to withdraw their pupils from Religious Education and of teachers to withdraw from teaching the subject. We aim to provide an open curriculum which can be taught to all pupils, by all staff.
Teachers will refer to the head teacher any questions from parents about withdrawals. Requests for full or partial withdrawal from RE should be made in writing to the head teacher and a record kept of them.
Below are the investigations and focus questions that will be taught by each class throughout this academic year. The RE investigations will be delivered in the best order for each class.