RE Statement of Intent
·According to the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education, ‘the ability to understand the faith or belief of individuals and communities and how these may shape their culture or behaviour, is an invaluable asset for children in modern day Britain.’ At Little Leigh Primary School, we believe that R.E. lessons will provoke challenging questions about meaning and purpose in life, beliefs about God, ultimate reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. We will encourage pupils to learn about religious and non-religious worldviews in order to discover, explore and consider different answers to these questions. They will learn to interpret, analyse, evaluate and critically respond to the claims that religious and non-religious worldviews make. Pupils will learn to express their insights and to agree or disagree respectfully.
RE makes a valuable contribution to pupils’ personal development and to their understanding of the wider world. At Little Leigh 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. RE does not try to persuade but rather to inform and develop the skills with which evaluation can take place.
We aim to develop deepening knowledge and understanding about a range of religious and non- religious world views so that pupils can:
- describe and explain beliefs and theological concepts
- describe and explain some sources of authority and teachings within and across religious and non-religious traditions
- describe and explain ways in which beliefs are expressed
- know and understand the significance and impact of beliefs and practices on individuals, communities and societies
- connect these together into a coherent framework of beliefs and practices
- gain and deploy deepening understanding of specialist vocabulary and terms;
- know and understand about religious diversity within the region, as well as nationally and globally;
- know and understand how religion can be defined and what is meant by the term “religious and non-religious worldviews” and with increasing clarity know that these worldviews are complex, diverse and plural;
- gain and deploy skills that enable critical thinking and enquiry in relation to the material they study;
- reflect on their own thoughts, feelings, experiences, ideas, values and beliefs with increasing discernment.
RE Statement of Implementation
At Little Leigh Primary School, we have a long term plan that clearly details the enquiry questions, and knowledge and understanding to be covered in all year groups. Discovery RE is used to support the teaching of RE across the school to ensure consistency and a high level of teaching throughout. It advocates an enquiry model (recommended by Ofsted in “Religious education: realising the potential”, 2013) with a 4-step approach as the basis for implementation. RE is taught once a week (an hour) and every unit (enquiry) is based around a key question. The key question for the enquiry is such that it demands an answer that weighs up ‘evidence’ (subject knowledge) and reaches a conclusion based on this. This necessitates children using their subject knowledge and applying it to the enquiry question, rather than this knowledge being an end in itself. Discovery 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
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 three lessons of investigation and discussion throughout Step 2, 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. Exposure to and analysis of religious texts can also enhance their reading, comprehension and inference skills.
In Step 3, 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 in Step 4. The recommended Discovery RE model for Key Stages 1 and 2, of studying Christianity plus one other religion in each year group, means both religions have multiple enquiries (or 6 week units) 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.
In addition to this, the medium-term nature of the Discovery RE planning allows teachers the freedom to plan with detail and attention to their individual children. Learners can be scaffolded, and any individual needs can be supported where necessary. Greater depth children can be challenged to ensure that they are being given the opportunities to enrich their learning further.