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. The following table assists them in making this judgement:
|Level||Knowledge & Understanding of Religion through the four concepts and developing the skills of investigation & enquiry, application & synthesis||Critical Thinking developing the skills of analysis, evaluation, interpretation and expression||Personal Reflection developing the skills of reflection & response and empathy|
|1||Pupils can recognise and name features of religious life and practice. They can recall religious stories, and recognise symbols, and other verbal and visual forms of religious expression.||Pupils talk about, what they find interesting or puzzling and what is of value and concern to themselves and to others.||Pupils reflect on their own feelings, ideas and values.|
|2||Pupils identify some beliefs and features of religion and their importance for some people. They begin to show awareness of similarities in religions. Pupils retell religious stories and suggest meanings for religious actions and symbols. They identify how religion is expressed in different ways.||In response to the religious material they learn about, children are able to express their views and give simple reasons to support these. Pupils recognise that some questions cause people to wonder and are difficult to answer.||In relation to the religious material studied children are able to reflect on their own feelings, ideas and values and be aware of the experiences and feelings of others.|
|3||Pupils describe some of the beliefs and features of religion, recognising similarities and differences. They make links between beliefs and sources, including religious stories and sacred texts. They begin to identify the impact religion has on believers’ lives. They describe some forms of religious expression.||In response to the religious material they learn about, pupils are able to express their views and support them using a plausible reason or reasons. They show some awareness of other people’s views. Pupils ask important questions about religion and beliefs.||n relation to religious material studied pupils are able to reflect on their own feelings, ideas and values and appreciate that not all people think, feel and believe the same. They reflect on what influences them, making links between aspects of their own and others’ experiences.|
|4||Pupils can demonstrate understanding of some of the beliefs and features of religion through the RE concepts and make some links between them. They can describe some similarities and differences both within and between religions. They describe the impact of religions on people’s lives. They suggest meanings for range of forms of religious expression.||In response to the religious material they learn about, pupils can express their own views using sound reasons. They show understanding of differing views and can give reasons to support an opposing view (i.e. they can see both sides of an argument).||In relation to religious material studied pupils can reflect on their own beliefs, ideas, feelings and values and develop empathy for people with differing beliefs and experiences.|
Pupils are expected to achieve the following levels by the end of each key stage:
|Pitch and key focus||KS1||Lower KS2||Upper KS2|
|Expected level for most pupils by end of key stage:||2||3||4|