RE Policy 2020 - 2021
Start children off on the way they should go and even when they are old they will
not turn from it. Proverbs 22 verse 6
Recognising its historic foundation, our school will preserve and develop its religious character in accordance with the principles of the church at parish and diocesan level. Our school aims to serve the community by providing education of the highest quality within the context of Christian belief and practice. We encourage an understanding of the meaning and significance of faith and promote Christian values through the experience we offer all pupils.
The legal position of RE
Religious Education is unique in the school curriculum in that it is neither a core subject nor a foundation subject but the 1988 Education Reform Act states that ‘Religious Education has equal standing in relation to core subjects of the National Curriculum in that it is compulsory for all registered pupils’
Cerne Abbas CE VC First School is Voluntary Controlled and therefore we deliver RE in line with the Dorset Agreed Syllabus. We also refer to and use the lessons from the Discovery RE Discovery document and Understanding Christianity document.
Aims for teaching RE
Religious education enables children to investigate and reflect on some of the most fundamental questions asked by people. At Cerne Abbas CE VC First School we develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of the following world faiths: Christianity, Judaism , Islam and Hinduism. Children reflect on what it means to have a faith and to develop their own spiritual knowledge and understanding. We help the children learn from religions as well as about religions.
In Religious Education we aim that it will:-
- provoke challenging questions about the meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, the self, issues of right and wrong, and what it means to be human. It develops pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity, other principal religions, and religious traditions that examine these questions, fostering personal reflection and spiritual development.
- encourage pupils to explore their own beliefs (whether they are religious or nonreligious), in the light of what they learn, as they examine issues of religious belief and faith and how these impact on personal, institutional and social ethics; and to express their responses.
- enable pupils to build their sense of identity and belonging, which helps them flourish within their communities and as citizens in a diverse society
- teach pupils to develop respect for others, including people with different faiths and beliefs, and helps to challenge prejudice
- prompt pupils to consider their responsibilities to themselves and to others, and to explore how they might contribute to their communities and to wider society. It encourages empathy, generosity and compassion.
- develop the ability to be still, to think deeply, to reflect and to appreciate times of stillness and of silence whilst developing a sense of awe, wonder and mystery
- develop investigative and research skills and to enable them to make reasoned judgements about religious issues.
The contribution RE makes to other curriculum aims
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
Section 78 (1) of the 2002 Education Act states that all pupils should follow a balanced and broadly based curriculum which ‘promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, social, mental and physical development of pupils and of society, and prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life’. Learning about and from religions and beliefs, through the distinct knowledge, understanding and skills contained in RE within a broad-based curriculum, is essential to achieving these aims. Exploring the concepts of religion and belief and their roles in the spiritual, moral and cultural lives of people in a diverse society helps individuals develop moral awareness and social understanding. Opportunities for spirituality and reflection are a priority at our school and twice a term a day and a half are set aside to concentrate on this. These are planned for carefully to ensure progression is evident.
Personal development and well-being
RE plays an important role in preparing pupils for adult life, employment and lifelong learning. It helps children and young people become successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens. It gives them the knowledge, skills and understanding to discern and value truth and goodness, strengthening their capacity for making moral judgements and for evaluating different types of commitment to make positive and healthy choices.
RE makes an important contribution to a school’s duty to promote community cohesion. It provides a key context to develop young people’s understanding and appreciation of diversity, to promote shared values and to challenge racism and discrimination. Effective RE will promote community cohesion at four levels:
- The school community – RE provides a positive context within which the diversity of cultures, beliefs and values can be celebrated and explored.
- The community within which the school is located – RE provides opportunities to investigate patterns of diversity of religion and belief and forge links with different groups in the local area.
- The UK community – a major focus of RE is the study of diversity of religion and belief in the UK and how this influences national life.
- The global community – RE involves the study of matters of global significance recognising the diversity of religion and belief and its impact on world issues.
RE contributes significantly to the teaching of English in our schools by actively promoting the skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing.
We use ICT where appropriate in RE. The children find, select and analyse information, using the internet.
Approaches to teaching in RE
RE has an important part to play as part of a broad, balanced and coherent curriculum to which all pupils are entitled.
In order to make religious education a lively, active subject we employ a variety of teaching methods including art, music, discussion, the development of thinking skills, drama, the use of artefacts, pictures, stories, and the use of periods of stillness and reflection. Where possible we want our pupils to have opportunities to encounter local faith communities through visits to local places of worship or visit from members of local faith communities.
We recognise the fact that all classes in our school have children of widely differing abilities, and so we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this in a variety of ways, for example, by:
- setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses;
- setting tasks of increasing difficulty (we do not expect all children to complete all tasks);
- grouping the children by ability in the room and setting different tasks for each ability group;
- providing resources of different complexity, adapted to the ability of the child;
How RE is organised
We plan our religious education curriculum in accordance with the Dorset Agreed Syllabus, Discovery RE document and Understanding Christianity document. RE is taught as both, a discrete subject and as part of a topic, depending on the Topic.
We ensure that the topics studied in religious education build upon prior learning. We offer opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit, and we ensure that the planned progression built into the scheme of work offers the children an increasing challenge as they move through the school.
RE resources are kept both centrally and in teachers own classrooms. There are boxes of artefacts for Christianity, Judaism, Isalm and Hinduism together with books and posters etc. There are age appropriate Bibles in each classroom.
We live our lives, at Cerne Abbas CE VC First School by our three Christian values of Friendship, Trust and Peace and these values are taught and demonstrated throughout the while curriculum. Each topic is planned around one of the values and these are also discussed during RE lessons.
Teaching religious education to children with special needs
In our school we teach RE to all children, whatever their ability. The teaching of RE is a vital part of our school curriculum policy, which states that we provide a broad and balanced education for all our children. When teaching RE we ensure that we provide learning opportunities matched to the needs of children with learning difficulties.
Assessment and recording
We assess children’s work in religious education by making informal judgements as we observe them during lessons. We mark a piece of work, where appropriate, and comment as necessary. On completion of a unit of work there is an assessment task and we also make a summary judgement about the work of each pupil. We use this as a basis for assessing the progress of each child, for setting new goals, and for passing information on to the next teacher at the end of the year. At the end of each half term we assess the children according to whether they are average, above average or below average.
Monitoring and review
The RE subject leader is responsible for monitoring the standards of the children’s work and the quality of the teaching in religious education. She is also responsible for supporting colleagues in the teaching of religious education, for being informed about current developments in the subject, and for providing a strategic lead and direction for the subject in the school. The co-ordinator is also responsible for contributing to the Church school self evaluation process. Twice a year there is an RE evaluation day with the RE governor and led by the RE subject leader. This involves classroom observations, book scrutiny, interviews with children and data analysis.
The right of Withdrawal from RE
Cerne Abbas CE VC First school wish to be an inclusive community but recognise that parents have the legal right to withdraw their children religious education on the grounds of conscience. However, the right of withdrawal does not extend to other areas of the curriculum when, as may happen on occasion, spontaneous questions on religious matters are raised by pupils or there are issues related to religion that arise in other subjects such as history or citizenship.
We would ask any parent considering this to contact the Head Teacher to discuss any concerns or anxieties about the policy in our school.
Managing the right of withdrawal
- If pupils are withdrawn from RE, schools have a duty to supervise them, though not to provide additional teaching or to incur extra cost. Pupils will usually remain on school premises.
- Where a pupil has been withdrawn, the law provides for alternative arrangements to be made for RE of the kind the parent wants the pupil to receive. This RE could be provided at the school in question, or the pupil could be sent to another school where suitable RE is provided if this is reasonably convenient.
- If neither approach is practicable, outside arrangements can be made to provide the pupil with the kind of RE that the parent wants, and the pupil may be withdrawn from school for a reasonable period of time to allow them to attend this external RE.
- Outside arrangements for RE are allowed as long as the LA is satisfied that any interference with the pupil’s attendance at school resulting from the withdrawal will affect only the start or end of a school session.
Date: February 2020
A positive, purposeful and enthusiastic atmosphere