RE contributes to the aims of the whole school curriculum and has an important part to play as part of a broad, balanced and coherent curriculum to which all pupils are entitled.
RE helps to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils, and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. Through RE pupils can develop skills e.g. discernment, critical thinking and reasoning.
RE gives opportunities for pupils to listen to others, hear and analyse conflicting viewpoints and develop empathy and respect.
RE, therefore, contributes to the development of the following:
- Economic – as pupils develop skills in RE for adult life, employment and lifelong learning.
- Cultural – as pupils develop understanding of how religious traditions contribute to the cultural heritage in all its diversity.
- Social – as pupils develop understanding of how religious identity and belonging are expressed, and consider their own participation in groups and communities.
- Personal – as pupils reflect on their own spiritual and moral ideas and those of others.
At Valley View, RE is based on 3 main elements:
- Knowledge and Understanding of Religion
- Critical Thinking
- Personal Reflection
Knowledge and Understanding of Religion
This is about what religion is and the impact it has for individuals and communities. It involves investigation of and enquiry into the nature of religion and beliefs.
Pupils will develop their knowledge and understanding of individual religions and distinctive religious traditions, and apply this to considering ways in which religions are similar to and different from each other. Older students will be able to connect significant features of religion together in a coherent pattern. All pupils will enquire into ultimate questions and ethical issues through their study of religious traditions.
Critical thinking requires pupils to use reason to analyse and evaluate the claims that religions make. Through learning in this way pupils have the opportunity to give opinions, support their ideas with reason, consider alternative arguments, weigh up evidence and listen to and respond to the views of others, so developing the ability to articulate their own views and form their own opinions. Critical thinking requires pupils to be open minded and to value different types of reasoning including intuition e.g. the many differing reasons why people might hold onto a religious faith.
This develops pupils’ ability to reflect on religion in relation to their own beliefs, values and experiences and the influence of these on their daily life, attitudes and actions. Personal evaluation is introspective, subjective and private. Pupils can make personal progress through reflection, empathy, developing respect and appreciation of others.
At Valley View, we follow the Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education in South Tyneside (2020). The RE syllabus provides for a developmental approach to RE. Continuity and progression is achieved by building on the knowledge, understanding and skills that pupils gain across and between key stages.
The key focus for each key stage helps teachers to plan work that is appropriate for the age and ability of their pupils. The key focus for learning at each key stage is indicated through the three elements:
∙ Knowledge and Understanding of Religion
∙ Critical Thinking
∙ Personal Reflection
Each element builds on knowledge and skills from the previous key stage. For example, the table below shows the key words of progression across the key stages for Knowledge and Understanding of Religion:
|Key focus of learning for Knowledge and Understanding of Religion||KS1||Lower KS2||Upper KS2|
Teachers can use the key focus to build on previous knowledge and skills developed through the three elements, so enabling pupils to make progress.
Teaching staff and support staff use a wide range of formative assessment tools during the lesson to judge the impact that the teaching is having on the children’s learning. Where it is evident that children have not developed a deep understanding of a concept, they will receive immediate intervention and/or verbal feedback.
At the end of a unit of work, teaching staff use their professional judgement to decide whether each pupil has achieved the level of knowledge, understanding and critical thinking required for the particular topic.