RE - Religious Education
The school's 'Champion' for RE is Mrs Emma Neville.
Frequency of sessions: This may change depending on the topic and activities in the week, but will largely average out as one session a week. However, there are plenty of additional opportunities given throughout the school year for children to develop their RE skills according to special events in the RE calendar.
Religious Education is an important curriculum subject in its own right and also makes a unique contribution to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils and supports wider community cohesion. RE is taught on a weekly basis in all class across the school. In it supported in school assemblies, in cross-curricula topic learning and through our PSHCE curriculum at times. We follow the Local Authority’s statutory SACRE guidance, SACRE stands for Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education; this is based on DfE non statutory guidance (2010).
Where possible, we invite in visitors from different faiths to talk to the children and allow open questioning; we alo plan trips to enrich learning. We have close links with Holy Trinity church here in Deanshanger, and a team share half termly ‘Open the Book’ assemblies.
Religious Education is a statutory requirement, but it is not part of the National Curriculum. Schools in Northamptonshire follow the SACRE agreed syllabus, which we base all our learning on.
The agreed syllabus for RE in Northamptonshire is called 'Growing Together' and is the responsibility of the local authority.
Frequently Asked Questions
1 - What decisions have been made about the curriculum in your subject?
Since 2020, we have been using the RE scheme Discovery RE as a basis for our RE teaching. The scheme provides the coverage specified by the SACRE guidance (provided by Northants County Council) while enabling us to extend the pupils’ learning beyond the guidance provided by SACRE. Broadening our pupils’ knowledge and understanding within the subject of Religious Education is vital as our school has a basis of 80% white, British (Could we include some background information about Religions within our school?). The scheme develops the knowledge and understanding through the teaching of 6 key religions providing a rich and diverse curriculum, over the primary phase of learning. We know that as a school we have the crucial role in extending the pupils’ understanding of their cultural capital and this scheme provided the basis for this. As part of the curriculum, RE teaching fall into two attainment targets: 1 – learning about religion; 2 – learning from religion, and this scheme provides the foundation for leading the learning from these two points.
2- How has the subject curriculum been adapted to meet our needs?
What evidence do we have to suggest that the curriculum is appropriate to our needs now? Does it build upon previous Ofsted feedback? How does the curriculum for your subject align with national policy and statutory requirements? How have you thought about what end points the curriculum is building towards, what pupils will be able to know and do at those end points, this includes considering how the intended curriculum will address social disadvantage by addressing gaps in pupils’ knowledge and skills.
The Discovery RE scheme provides a systematic and progressive approach to teaching RE. It provides clear scaffolding for teachers to build on pupil's knowledge and understanding with its provision of curriculum-themed knowledge organisers, which set out core knowledge set out under the headings of: key terms and definitions; links to other aspects and beliefs; considerations for personal resonance; history and context link; impact on the believer and daily life and suggestions to home-learning. These aspects were especially considered when reflecting upon our previous Full Ofsted Inspection that was carried out in June 2019 when it was said (not specifically about RE, but may have included it): In some subjects, teachers’ subject knowledge does not enable them to plan effective sequences of learning. Consequently, while the curriculum is rich and encourages pupils to learn, teachers do not systematically build and deepen pupils’ knowledge well over time.
3 - How do you know your curriculum is working?
Having spoken with colleagues and with pupils, the Discovery RE scheme has provided the systematic and progressive learning that pupils require and the staff appreciate. The scheme outlines both the learning and assessment opportunities; and the chance for pupils to open self-reflection discussions, which lead to self-assessment.
Since last year, we have begun to collate cohort data reflecting our AT1 and AT2 outcomes for each year group, which is then used to support teachers in understanding where they are picking-up pupils’ learning the following year (Could we reference this data?). This data uses the terms as specified as SACRE: working towards, working at, or exceeding.
I have also been able to carry out elevation group meetings with collections of pupils from each year group to gain understanding about their feelings about the subject and to hear, first hand, how their learning is progressing. During the elevation sessions pupils were asked several different questions, but were specifically asked what RE meant to them and the responses were: Year 2 – RE helps us to be kind and respect others;
Year 3 – RE helps us to understand how people do things differently to us and how different celebrations are celebrated;
Year 4 – RE helps us to understand what has happened in the past and where religion comes from;
Year 5 – RE helps us to understand what other people are like and think about how to treat them; and helps us to know what else is going on in the world in different countries;
Year 6 – RE helps us to treat people equally; understand people and people’s opinions; and respect what other people believe; learn about different ways of life and how other people live.
We are working on developing our links to the local and wider community that will help to deepen and broaden the pupils’ experiences along their learning, but we recognise that our curriculum should always be reviewed to reflect our local community as well our wider learning.
“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).
4 – What has been the impact of lockdown etc on the subject and what positive examples can we share about the subject and its remote delivery?
Teachers were able to continue to teach the RE curriculum, particularly the aspects of knowledge, but as pupils were not alongside their peers were not able to enhance and broaden their understanding of concepts in the same way as being present and engaging in peer-on-peer conversations in class would have done. Being in class offers broader perspectives than learning in a nucleus environment, at home.
5 - What are the strengths of your current subject curriculum?
The strength of the subject is the coverage of learning that is made over the course of a year and the primary years in total. Teachers look to develop learning in range of methods and incorporate other areas of the curriculum, which enrich learning experiences, e.g. using art, drama, dance, etc. The introduction of the RE books for children has helped to collate learning, helping to build up specific learning journals, helping children to enhance their understanding of what constitutes Religious Education.
6 - What are the areas of the curriculum that might need development?
Making links with the wider community and visiting various places of worship will enable us to strengthen learning in school and enhance learning opportunities while developing the pupils’ cultural capital and challenge any previous misconceptions.
7 - Leading professional development, providing guidance and support to colleagues.
When I introduced the new scheme, as a school team, we explored the planning format and looked at how the sessions were developed. We also discussed the aspects of assessment and how this information and judgments should be formed. Resourcing needs are also reviewed regularly, and staff are encouraged to come forward with any resourcing needs. When new staff have joined the school, I have sat down with them to share the scheme and discuss any questions.
8 – How is RE Resourced?
Many of the resources that we regularly use are IT based, however, we do have a large collection of specialist resources that reflect the curriculum teaching and the 6 main, world religions.
9 – What do you expect that Ofsted will see when they focus on the subject?
Ofsted will see that pupils are developing a confidence when discussing their RE learning, but recognise how it enriches their understanding of the world and lives of the people around them. RE learning takes many forms, which are collated together and evidenced in pupils’ RE journals with each new term’s theme being introduced with a cover sheet outlining a key idea. Cover sheets are then added to and developed throughout the theme’s learning, with children adding key vocabulary and terms as they are taught. Over an academic year, pupils learn about different religions and these depend upon the year group being visited/observed. Over a term, learning focuses upon aspects of both attainment target 1 and 2, though these may not be present in every lesson. Whenever possible, teachers try to enrich learning opportunities by reaching out into the community by making links to families and communities further afield.
10 - How are SEND, PP and Gifted and Talented pupils supported in learning?
Discovery RE is an enquiry-based scheme of learning, and as such, always begins from gaining an insight of the pupils’ understanding of the theme question presented. Pupils, of all abilities and backgrounds, are then encouraged to share and deepen their understandings by making discoveries and links from different perspectives before extending their knowledge and understanding further by learning how the theme is represented within a particular religion. This sequence of teaching allows teachers to tailor each enquiry to meet the needs of the children in their class whether requiring additional support or challenge. The scheme also promotes learning to be explored using a range of media, allowing for pupils’ interests and abilities to be considered, for example, by using writing, art, drama, etc. The scheme provides teachers with exemplars for children working towards the learning objective, working at the expected level for their age groups and working beyond the expected level of achievement.