The RE curriculum is determined by the local Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE), which is responsible for producing the locally agreed syllabus for RE. Currently, we follow Understanding Christianity and The Emmanuel Project to deliver our RE curriculum in conjunction with the agreed syllabus.
The principle aim of RE in Wiltshire is to engage pupils in enquiring into key questions arising from the study of religion and belief, so as to promote their personal and spiritual development.
At Marden Vale C of E Academy, we have designed our R.E. curriculum with the intent that our children will become resilient, accepting, mindful and inquisitive learners. 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 will deliver a curriculum that:
- 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.
- Gives children the knowledge, critical thinking skills, open-minded and respectful attitudes with which to investigate the world of religion and belief, and to make their own decisions about what this means to them, whilst empathising with what it means to those who hold those beliefs.
- Enables children to grow spiritually by developing their awareness and skills of reflection, their experiences of awe and wonder and their appreciation of stillness and silence.
- Promotes equality and understanding of the British values and ensures they are prepared for life in modern Britain.
Statutory requirements for the provision of Religious Education
The national curriculum states the legal requirement that:
Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based, and that:
- promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils; and
- prepare pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.
‘All state schools must teach religious education. All schools must publish their curriculum by subject and academic year online'.
(National Curriculum in England: Framework Document, DfE, September 2013, p.4)
Religious Education must be taught to all registered pupils in maintained schools, including those in the sixth form, except to those withdrawn by their parents.
Academies and free schools must teach RE within the requirements for a locally agreed syllabus, set out in section 375 (3) of the Education Act 1996 and paragraph (5) of Schedule 19 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. The requirements are that a syllabus must ‘reflect the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are, in the main, Christian while taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain’.
At Marden Vale CE Academy, RE is taught in accordance with the Wiltshire Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education using the Emmanuel Project scheme of work and Understanding Christianity. At Marden Vale CE Academy, we study Christianity as the principle religion. Judaism is the other religion that is studied in Key Stage One with Islam being introduced in Year 2. In Key Stage Two, children continue to study Christianity and Islam with Hinduism and Humanism also being introduced.
Where possible we include cross-curricular links. Festivals are celebrated, acknowledging the different faiths and cultural diversity of children in our school and within Great Britain.
Where appropriate, we enable our pupils to have opportunities to encounter local faith communities through visits to local places of worship or visits from members of faith communities to our school. Strong links with St Mary’s Church enable off site visits and visits to school on a regular basis to support the teaching of Christianity.
The R.E. curriculum is led and overseen by the subject leader who will monitor, evaluate, review and celebrate good practice.
- Understanding Christianity and The Emmanuel Project are used to deliver the RE curriculum.
- The religions covered in depth are Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Humanism.
- In Foundation Stage 2 (EYFS) children learn about Christianity plus aspects of other religions as appropriate.
RE is generally taught on a weekly basis, but is sometimes delivered through class topic or as a whole school RE day. Teachers may develop their own key questions linked to the themes in the syllabus, allowing links with other subject areas where appropriate.
Lessons are planned and delivered in a variety of ways ensuring that all children can access and participate in lessons. Interactive and practical activities encourage children to discuss their ideas and extend their understanding of difficult and challenging questions. The use of art, drama, music, artefacts, visits and visitors are also used to ensure effective teaching and learning of RE throughout the school.
Reflection also forms part of our curriculum and provides opportunities for children to have some quiet thinking, reflection time about a bible story / school values / self. Children also take part in daily reflection, with one session a term focusing on the value of the school at that time. Children listen to music to help them reflect and sometimes their reflections are recorded in the class reflection book.
In the Foundation Stage, Religious Education is assessed through observation and discussion. In Key Stage One and Key Stage Two RE is assessed at the end of a unit of work. Children are graded as Working Towards / Expected / Greater Depth. These assessments are shared with the subject leader.
Progress and attainment in RE is reported annually to parents / carers and has a prominent position in the end of year reports.
In addition, the R.E. subject leader is given training and opportunities to keep developing their own subject knowledge, skills and understanding, so they can support curriculum development and their colleagues throughout the school.
Early Years and Religious Education
At Marden Vale CE Academy we follow the non-statutory guidance for under- fives in the Agreed Syllabus using The Emmanuel Project and Understanding Christianity to support teaching and learning.
In RE we aim to develop the distinctive RE skills, such as enquiring, exploring, questioning, analysing and interpreting, as well as empathising and reflecting. A broad and secure base of skills which underpins the ability to think, reason, reflect and articulate ideas is vital in giving children access to good Religious Education.
The Teaching Context
The Agreed Syllabus states the assumptions from DfE circular 1/94 that the following minimum hours should be devoted to R.E: The equivalent of 36 hours per year (1 hour per week) at KS1, and 45 hours per year (1¼ hours per week) at KS2.
Right of withdrawal from R.E.
Parents have a right to withdraw their child from all or part of the RE curriculum. Parents are asked to put this in writing and consult the Headteacher if they wish to arrange this.
At Marden Vale C of E Academy you will see:
- Children who have a stronger awareness of the world around them and are mindful of the beliefs of others.
- Children who know they are valued as individuals and that their beliefs are valued and celebrated.
- Enjoyment of the R.E. curriculum that promotes creativity, achievement, confidence and inquisitive minds.
- Children who feel safe to learn new things and share their beliefs with others in an accepting environment.
- Children leaving the school with a sense of belonging to a tightly knit community where they have the confidence and skills to make decisions, self-evaluate, make connections and become lifelong learners.