The RE curriculum at WPA is based firmly on the Fundamental British Values of individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith. We aim for all pupils to leave WPA with a rich understanding of various world religions and reflect the multi-cultural, diverse community we serve. We intend that through learning in RE will further support our values-based curriculum, especially in the development of respect and tolerance. We intend to support and prepare all pupils for life in modern Britain. We believe that our RE curriculum makes a valuable contribution to pupils’ personal development, SMSC and to their understanding of the wider world. We use Discovery RE to teach RE from Nursery up to Year 6. 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. Our RE does not try to persuade but rather to inform and develop the skills with which evaluation can take place.
Our weekly RE lessons ensure children learn about and learn from different faiths and religions. These are then assessed at the end of each key unit. Our RE has 2 aspects; learning about and learning from.
In EYFS, we use Discovery RE Early Years planning and in Years 1-6, we teach the recommended Discovery RE model for Key Stages 1 and 2, of studying Christianity plus one other religion in each year group. This means religions have multiple enquiries per year. This ensures that the children revisit prior learning for both religions throughout the year to build on the previous enquiries, and Christmas and Easter enquiries are built on year-on-year throughout the child’s primary school journey.
Units are blocked throughout the year and shared with parent. In each unit, the children start from their own experience to ensure understanding of the concept being studied then move into investigating that concept in depth from the point of view of the chosen religion. This continues over several lessons of investigation and discussion, using artefacts, videos, key texts and scenarios, which embeds subject knowledge. These lessons not only support the children with embedding their RE knowledge, but also contribute to their oracy and critical thinking skills. After a sequence of teaching, they complete an assessment activity to evaluate the question again in light of their new knowledge, and have further opportunities to embed their own reflections on the learning
The key question for the enquiry is such that it requires an answer that weighs up ‘evidence’ (subject knowledge) and reaches a conclusion based on this. This means children using their subject knowledge and applying it to the enquiry question, rather than this knowledge being an end in itself. Our 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.
We ensure that learners are scaffolded, and any individual needs can be supported where necessary through sentences stems and ‘working towards’ statements utilised. Greater depth children are challenged to ensure that they are being given the opportunities to enrich their learning further through challenging higher-order-thinking questions and discussion activities.
Teachers use ‘Background Knowledge’ information sheets to support their subject specific teaching. These support teachers to feel more confident in their own subject knowledge, which in turn allows them to extend the learning of the children.
We also have a calendar of memorable RE experiences and interactions from varied faiths including visitors or visits to places of worship to deepen and support understanding and build respect and tolerance of others.
- extend children’s knowledge and understanding of religions and beliefs
- develop children’s religious vocabulary and ability to interpret religious symbolism in a variety of forms
- Ensure children reflect on questions of meaning, offering their own thoughtful and informed insights into religious and secular world-views
- Give opportunities to explore ultimate questions of beliefs and values in relation to a range of contemporary issues in an ever-changing society
The impact of our RE curriculum is also sought directly from the pupils as surveys and questionnaires are used to gather pupils’ voice on this subject and together with summative assessment, action can be taken to further develop the RE.
The impact of this learning: