At St.Swithun’s Primary School, our R.E. curriculum allows children to discover and gain an insight into religions within the world that we live. We see the teaching of R.E. as vital for children to understand others’ beliefs and make connections between their own values. It is our role to ensure pupils are being inquisitive by asking questions about the world around them by allowing pupils to gain high quality experiences.
We intend to deliver an R.E. curriculum that:
- Celebrates the diverse and rich community at St.Swithun’s Primary School.
- Inspires creative learning through excellent teaching practices that build on prior R.E. learning and allow for repetition and progression of skills that build upon starting points.
- Embraces the community in which it is situated, recognising local places of worship including: church, mosque, cathedral and temple.
- Is inclusive, develops self-confidence and identifies that all our children are unique and therefore we should all be tolerant of each other’s beliefs.
- Encourages our children to be inquisitive about others beliefs developing inquiry based R.E. skills that allow them to culturally aware of the world around them.
- Promotes equality and understanding of the British values and ensures they are prepared for life in modern Britain.
- Embraces the community in which it is situated, inviting volunteers from different world religions in to speak about their faith and taking children to local places of worship including churches, mosques, cathedrals and temples.
At St. Swithun's, we use Understanding Christianity to teach the concepts Creation/God, Incarnation and Salvation across the school. We decided that these were the concepts we wanted all children to have a deep understanding of when they leave St. Swithun’s.
Other world religions are taught using the Discovery RE materials. The religions have been split into year groups except in Reception where the concepts of story time, celebrations and special places are introduced.
Year 1 – Judaism
Year 2 – Islam
Year 3 – Sikhi
Year 4 – Buddhism
Year 5 – Hinduism
Year 6 – Islam
Discovery RE is a whole school approach to Religious Education for the Primary School, comprising of detailed medium-term planning covering Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, with reference to Humanism.
During Key Stage 2, children are taught the knowledge, skills and understanding through deeper enquiry into known religions and in Year 6, encounter secular world views. Pupils in Year 5 and Year 6 consider the impact of beliefs and practices in greater detail and respond to more philosophical questions.
Discovery RE uses an enquiry model; a 4-step approach as the basis for implementation. 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. 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.
Discovery RE is structured to provide knowledge and skills development, with application of these to the children’s lives within and beyond school.
The Discovery RE planning encourages teachers to include memorable activities such as visitors or visits to places of worship
By the time children leave St.Swithun’s School they will:
- have a stronger awareness of the world around them and will be mindful of the beliefs of others
- extend their knowledge and understanding of religions and beliefs
- develop a religious vocabulary and interpret religious symbolism in a variety of forms
- reflect on questions of meaning
- explore ultimate questions of beliefs and values in relation to a range of contemporary issues in an ever-changing society