Religious Education is a legal entitlement for every pupil. It forms part of the Basic Curriculum (National Curriculum and the Locally Agreed Syllabus for RE). Its place in the school curriculum acknowledges the importance of beliefs and values in peoples’ lives, regardless of their religious commitments. It also acknowledges that religious beliefs and practices play an important part in the lives of many people world-wide today and as they have done throughout history. RE offers pupils the opportunity to develop a better understanding of themselves, the people around them and the world in which they live.
Dereham St Nicholas is a Voluntary Aided C. of E. Junior School. RE is taught in line with the Norfolk Agreed Syllabus, ‘Religious Education in Norfolk’, (2005). This sets out aims and programmes of study for RE. In addition, the governors and teachers are also using the Non-Statutory Curriculum Guidance for RE in Norfolk Schools (2005) produced by the Norfolk SACRE.
Aims and Approaches
The Norfolk Agreed Syllabus (2005) has two central aims:
1) Learning About Religion
Acquiring knowledge and developing understanding of Christianity and the other principal religions represented in Great Britain.
- Developing an understanding of the influence of beliefs, values and traditions on individuals, communities, societies, and cultures, and how religion can influence the lives of people who embrace it.
- Developing the ability to consider and reflect on religious and moral issues in order to make informed choices in the context of a growing knowledge of the teachings of the principal religions represented inGreat Britain.
2) Learning From Religion
Developing awareness of the fundamental questions of life raised by human experiences, and of how religious teachings can relate to them.
- Responding to such questions with reference to the teachings and practices of religions, and to their own understanding and experience.
- Reflecting on their own beliefs, values and experiences in the light of their study.
These twin aims will:
Help pupils develop a positive attitude towards other people, respecting their right to hold beliefs different from their own, and towards living in a society of diverse religions and beliefs.
Enhance their spiritual, moral, cultural and social development.
As a Church of England Voluntary Aided School in the Diocese of Norfolk, however, we take seriously our role of presenting Christianity as a living faith and extra emphasis is placed on the teaching and understanding of Christianity. All year groups study at least one term unit of Christianity, how Christianity influences individuals and our own school and town community. A close link with the church community is encouraged so pupils can see Christian life, worship and commitments at first hand. We also make a point of marking the celebrations of the Christian Year.
The Norfolk Agreed Syllabus (2005) states that ‘it is vital that pupils are encouraged to develop positive attitudes to their learning and to the beliefs and values of others’ and to this end outlines four attitudes that are ‘essential for good learning in RE’. These should be developed across all key stages and are a key focus of RE teaching. They are:
Respect for All
Appreciation and Wonder
The Programme of Study for RE
The Programme of Study is organised into Key Stages indicating what should be taught. There are two key focuses (Norfolk Agreed Syllabus 2005), running throughout, that should be given equal teaching time. These are:
1) Learning About Religion
Includes enquiry into, and investigation of, the nature of religion, its beliefs, teachings, ways of life, sources, practices and forms of expression. It includes the skills of interpretation, analysis and explanation. It also includes identifying and developing an understanding of ultimate questions and ethical issues. Learning about religion covers knowledge and understanding of individual religions and how they relate to each other as well as the study of the nature and characteristics of religion. Pupils learn to communicate their knowledge and understanding using specialist vocabulary.
2) Learning From Religion
Is concerned with developing pupils’ ability to reflect on, and respond to, their own and others’ experiences in the light of their learning about religion. It develops pupils’ skills of application, interpretation and evaluation of what they learn about religion. Pupils learn to develop and communicate their own ideas, in relation to questions of identity and belonging, meaning, purpose and truth, and values and commitments.
Pupils will learn about Christianity and other religions, covering key focuses, split across the year groups as shown:
|Key Beliefs & Questions||Y3 Autumn||Y4 Summer||Y3 Spring||Y4 Spring||Y3Summer|
|Inspirational people & leaders||Y4 Autumn||Y3 Spring||Y4 Spring|
|Teachings & Authority (Holy Books)||Y5 Autumn 1||Y6||Y5Summer 1|
|Religion & its impact on the life of the individual||Y4 Summer||Y6||Y5Summer 2|
|Religion & the impact on family life & the community||Y4 Spring||Y5Spring 2|
|Worship, Pilgrimage & Sacred Places||Y3 Spring|
|The journey of life & death (life after death)||Y6||Y6|
|Symbols & Religious Expression (Art & Stories)||Y5 Autumn 2||Y5 Spring 1|
|Beliefs & Action in the World||Y6||Y6|
Each block represents half a term (or six hours) of teaching.
Reporting and Assessment
Reporting and assessment of achievement and development in RE is undertaken within the school reporting system. Pupils are not assessed on personal faith, but on their knowledge, skills and understanding. This is split into two attainment targets: learning about religion (AT1) and learning from religion (AT2). Assessment is made for each of these attainment targets on an 8 level scale (Norfolk Agreed Syllabus pg 34). These two levels are recorded for each child at the end of the year. The Norfolk Agreed Syllabus requires schools to report attainment at the end of each Key Stage or when children transfer between schools at other points. The school may be required to submit these levels to the SACRE, as part of monitoring RE inNorfolk.
Provision of RE at Dereham St. Nicholas Junior School
i) Time Allocation. Each class has an hourly session of RE per week. Children are taught in mixed ability and mixed denominational groupings
ii) Resources. The school has a range of resources which, when not in use, are stored in a central cupboard. There are a range of resources available to promote effective RE teaching, including: text books, videos, artefacts, posters, etc. These are essential to fulfill the legal requirements of the Agreed Syllabus.
iii) Methodology. A variety of teaching methods are encouraged in RE. These include: role play, visits, visitors, games, discussion, surveys, interviews, written work, research, videos, artefacts, music, food, surveys and stories.
iv) Monitoring. In common with other subjects in school, pupil’s progress is monitored by class teachers, the Subject Leader for RE and the Senior Management Team.
v) External Teaching as appropriate
Provision for Withdrawal from RE
i) Pupils – Parents may ask for their child to be withdrawn from RE or Collective Worship in accordance with the Education Act 1944, sections 25(4) and 30, which was amended in 1988. Reasons for withdrawal do not have to be given.
Parents are advised of the current provision for RE and Collective Worship in the School Brochure as required by law. They are asked to contact the headteacher if they wish to exercise the right to withdraw and discuss their requirements. It is legally the parent’s responsibility to provide for their child during RE time.
ii) Staff – Teachers may also withdraw from RE. Their classes however are legally entitled to be taught RE. The headteacher is responsible for making alternative provision for the pupils. Teachers are not required to give their reasons for withdrawal.
The policy should be monitored as an ongoing process and an evaluation into the effectiveness of the policy should be undertaken on a bi-annual basis.
The policy was ratified by the Governors on 25th November 2009.
It is due for review no later than July 2013
Chair of Governors