Religious Education Curriculum Approach
At Sutton Benger CE Primary School, we recognise the importance of Religion Education and believe that an understanding of World Views is essential to prepare today’s children to live peacefully in the world of the future. We want our children to be curious and to ask questions to develop their understanding of Religious and non-religious views in the world around them. Our R.E. curriculum is deliberately knowledge and vocabulary-rich as we believe it is vital to acquire a cumulatively sufficient understanding of different religions and world views. As a Church of England VA Primary School, we have a strong focus on Understanding Christianity and Christianity forms the basis of collective worship in our school. Our intention is that children experience a rich curriculum, having opportunities to learn about a range of religions and world views, including Humanism. We recognise the need to develop R.E. skills and understanding, so that our children can be fully immersed in units of learning that allow them to be creative and to learn, grow and flourish within the R.E. curriculum.
In conjunction with the aims of the National Curriculum, our R.E. curriculum offers opportunities for children to:
A. 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;
- appreciate and appraise the nature, significance and impact of different ways of life and ways of expressing meaning.
B. 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;
- appreciate and appraise varied dimensions of religion or a worldview.
C. 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;
- articulate beliefs, values and commitments clearly in order to explain why they may be important in their own and other people’s lives.
R.E. is blocked as units of learning within a 39-weeks curriculum map. The children take on the state of being a ‘World Views investigator’ and are fully immersed in a curriculum unit that is dedicated to R.E., with pre-existing knowledge from other curriculum areas used to support where possible. Knowledge Organisers are provided for every unit and they include the foundational knowledge needed first in order to access next learning. Subject specific knowledge is also included which allows pupils to then apply when thinking critically within the unit. The implementation of R.E. in this way supports children to become fully secure in each unit as well as supporting them to build progressive understanding of the key concepts that are woven throughout the curriculum. To support high quality planning and assessment, teachers draw upon knowledge from the school’s R.E. subject leader, as well as from experts within our multi-academy trust, DBAT. The ‘Understanding Christianity’ materials and ‘Swindon Syllabus’, plans and resources are used to support both specialist and non-specialist teachers in their planning for R.E. lessons.
To ensure a cumulatively sufficient curriculum, key concepts are woven throughout. Our curriculum is designed to ensure that all children access the key concepts within a range of units as they progress throughout the school. In Religious Education, there are three types of concept pupils should encounter:
Concepts about the study of religion
- There are some concepts which are common to most or all religions, though with different interpretation and application in each, e.g. Worship.
Concepts central to human development
- Some concepts represent the shared experience of human beings as spiritual and moral beings. They often lie at the heart of ultimate questions, e.g. Destiny.
Concepts distinctive of particular religions
- Each religion has specific concepts which are central to any understanding of that religion, e.g. “Incarnation,” in Christianity.
Focusing on concepts furthers the aims of Religious Education by enabling pupils to:
- comprehend what it means to be a member of a religion by understanding the significance for the believer of their beliefs and practices;
- appreciate how the study of religion highlights key similarities and differences, which can form the basis of dialogue between religions;
- reflect on how the experience of being human is responded to and interpreted in the religions being studied.
By combining these three areas of conceptual study, pupils will be encouraged to: reflect on their own beliefs and attitudes; understand those who hold beliefs different from their own; find ways of working and living alongside those with different beliefs.
- Children at Sutton Benger CE Primary School have a curiosity for finding about different religious beliefs and world views.
- Alongside the subject’s contribution to pupils’ mental, cognitive and linguistic development, RE offers distinctive opportunities to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. RE lessons offer a structured and safe space during curriculum time for reflection, discussion, dialogue and debate. They will understand that it takes practise in order to get better at understanding world views. They will have begun to develop an understanding of the different religions, which they can take with them as they move on to secondary school education.
- Children’s growing understanding of religions and world views will have a positive influence on children’s moral, social and cultural development. .
- Children will be able to reflect and debate with increasing depth and confidence.
- Children will love R.E. enough to share and discuss their own views, and the views of others, with others outside of school.
- Pupils will have good memories of R.E. at Sutton Benger CE Primary School and a respect for other peoples’ views will continue to be important to them for the rest of their lives.