Religious Education plays a central role in offering the broad and balanced curriculum that will enable our children to participate fully in life in modern Britain and the wider world. We have identified it as a thread that runs throughout our learning; through our vision, values and RE lessons.
Our curriculum aims to enable our pupils to hold informed and balanced conversations about religions and beliefs. It sets out to provide a safe environment where they can explore their own ideas and learn to evaluate the opinions of others.
Through the study of a wide range of religious and non-religious worldviews, our children are encouraged to answer challenging questions such as “Is Mary an important part of the Christmas Story?” and investigate the ways in which religious practice and belief informs and influences society.
St Mary’s Primary School uses the The Oxfordshire Agreed Syllabus 2015 - 2020 which has four aims for RE: To enable pupils to;
understand the nature, role and influence of different religions, traditions, beliefs and lifestyles in the world;
pursue personal quest for meaning, purpose and value;
formulate reasoned opinions/arguments in relation to controversial issues and truth claims;
develop understanding of and respect for different beliefs and lifestyles.
The curriculum is taught in phases - EYFS and Year 1, Keys Stage 1, LKS2 and UKS2. The lessons are either discrete stand-alone units or part of the cross curricular project approach. We plan lessons using a variety of teaching resources; including Understanding Christianity Scheme of work and the Diocesan Scheme of Work as well as linking our learning to our cross curricular projects. The children learn RE under the following strands; Learning About strand of RE;
Knowing it - relating to largely to believing
Living it - relating to belonging and behaving
This strand is knowledge based and utilises reading skills to acquire knowledge of Christianity and other faiths. The children build on prior knowledge to make sense of the content being taught. This strand is exemplified in the Understanding Christianity as Making sense of the text – developing skills of reading and interpretation; understanding how Christians interpret, handle and use biblical texts; making sense of the meanings of texts for Christians Learning from strand of RE.
Linking it - applying their learning to their own lives and beliefs.
This strand is the opportunity to apply what they have learnt to their own or others’ lives. This strand is exemplified in the Understanding Christianity as Making connections – evaluating, reflecting on and connecting the texts and concepts studied, and discerning possible connections between these and pupils’ own lives and ways of understanding the world.
The Understanding Christianity training was undertaken in 2019 to address the gaps arising from our audit of the entitlement statement from the Church of England (to ensure we use an approach that engages with biblical text and theological ideas). Understanding Christianity Scheme of Work provides;
theological and conceptual basis, taking seriously Christian accounts of the ‘big story’ of salvation and the relationship of the reader/pupil to these texts
a clear outline of core knowledge ‘building blocks’ in relation to Christianity, to enable teachers to see what pupils should know, understand and be able to do
support for teachers who have little or no theological training, through straightforward essential background information for the teacher about Christian concepts, theology and practice
a teaching and learning approach to enable pupils to move from an understanding of the biblical text and how to handle it, to an understanding of what this means for Christians within the Church and in Christian living, including opportunities for pupils to examine and evaluate connections between these ideas and the wider world
The curriculum is organised in a spiral model;
Assessment of RE outcomes We use the Oxfordshire Diocesan Board of Education’s Progression Outcomes for the Diocesan RE Scheme of Work (Based on the guidelines issues by RE online in March 2015) to help us to identify intended outcomes and ODBE’S Assessment in RE document (Combining ideas from Locally Agreed Syllabuses, Understanding Christianity and RE Online) to help us plan sufficiently challenging tasks for our pupils. To be attaining ‘expected’ achievement, pupils need to achieve the elements of Knowing It and Living it, with some elements of Linking it. Project planners identify questions and vocabulary to be asked and used in the project and these are displayed as part of our learning wall display. TAs have been supporting the development of RE vocabulary by taking vocabulary flashcards onto the playground and playing games with the children. This supports the acquisition of vocabulary and supports our ambition of making learning ‘sticky’. The portfolio captures RE learning four times a year - one collection is from the RE lead project. The portfolio identifies the attainment of learners in the cohort and examples of work linked to the project planner intended outcomes represent three learners’ work (AA/A/BA). The portfolios are monitored by the co-ordinator to plan next steps of CPD, review learning and monitor curriculum coverage.