What are the aims of Religious Education?
RE aims to give children the knowledge, critical thinking skills, open minded and respectful attitude with which to investigate the world of religion and beliefs, and make their own decisions about what this means to them, whilst empathising with what it means to those who hold those beliefs. It also aims to enable children to grow spiritually by developing their awareness and skills of reflection, their experience of awe and wonder and their appreciation of stillness and silence.
Does my child have to attend RE lessons?
RE is a statutory subject in all schools in England, except for those children withdrawn at the request of their parents. (Education Act 2002, section 80). It is parents’ legal right to withdraw their children from Religious Education.
What do schools have to teach in RE?
According to the latest guidance from the government, via the National Curriculum for England, every school needs to have a broad and balanced curriculum that:
• promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, social, mental and physical development of pupils
• prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life
• promotes British values.
Schools also have statutory responsibility to promote community cohesion (Education Act, 2006), and have to demonstrate that they are “Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation, from whatever source” (The Prevent duty – departmental advice for schools and childcare providers”, June 2015). RE plays an important part in enabling these responsibilities. RE is a statutory subject which sits alongside but not in the English National Curriculum and so there is no ‘official’ national agreement on what should be taught, rather a non-statutory national framework to guide syllabus-writing bodies.
Discovery RE at Five Spires Academy
At Five Spires Academy we use the Discovery RE programme. Discovery RE recommends teaching Christianity plus one other principal religion / belief system in every year group, and enables all 6 principal religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism) to be taught by the end of Key Stage 2.
We teach Religious Education through an enquiry based approach, where children have the opportunity to explore a variety of themes and world religions. Our belief is that using this approach well, children’s critical thinking skills can be developed, their motivation to learn increased, and their knowledge and understanding of, and empathy with people and their beliefs, religious or otherwise, will be enhanced. This approach takes very seriously the philosophy that children are free to make their own choices and decisions concerning religion and belief.
The 2013 Ofsted report on RE, “Religious Education: realising the potential”, suggests
“ using the approach of a philosophical enquiry can deepen and extend pupils’ investigation into religion”.
“In the most effective RE teaching, enquiry is based at
the heart of the learning”.
Please click on the link below to see the whole school scheme of work.