Religious Education at Stocksbridge Junior School
At Stocksbridge Junior School, every child is a religious scholar.
We want all of our pupils to know about and understand a range of religions and worldviews. Through our religious education curriculum, we want all of our pupils to develop an appreciation of the subject, be inspired, be ambitious and confident in their ability, using the knowledge and skills they have been taught to express their own ideas and insights into the significant human questions which religions address. Through the teaching of religious education, we will open children’s minds to different possibilities and alternative points of view they may encounter and promote the virtues of respect and empathy. We also intend to introduce all of our pupils to the opportunities and careers their knowledge and skills in this area will, in the future, allow them to access.
At Stocksbridge Junior School, our intention is to ensure that pupils are equipped with the knowledge and understanding of a range of religions, world views and different ways of life in local, national and global contexts enabling them to develop their own ideas, values and identity. Pupils are encouraged to develop enquiring minds, and to think rigorously, creatively, imaginatively and respectfully about their ideas in relation to religions and world views. Our approach takes very seriously the philosophy that children are free to make their own choices and decisions concerning religion and belief. Religious Education does not try to persuade but rather to inform and develop the skills with which evaluation can take place.
In line with the Sheffield Agreed Syllabus, the aim of our Religious Education curriculum is to ensure all pupils:
- Know about and understand a range of religions and world views
- Express ideas and insights about the nature, significance and impact of religions and worldviews
- Gain and deploy the skills needed to engage seriously with religions and worldviews
We intend for our curriculum to support an aptitude for dialogue in pupils so that they can participate positively in a diverse society. Pupils will learn to investigate religions and worldviews through varied experiences and disciplines, making progress by reflecting on the impact of religions and worldviews on contemporary life. They will also gain and deploy the skills needed to interpret and evaluate evidence, texts and sources of wisdom and authority. Pupils will learn to articulate clear and coherent accounts of their personal beliefs, ideas, values and experiences with increasing clarity, while respecting the right of others to have different views, values and ways of life. Through our Religious Education curriculum, pupils will learn how to disagree respectfully and will become increasingly able to be reasonable in their responses to religions and worldviews, using their skills of rationality and argument; fostering an understanding, respect and tolerance towards the beliefs of others.
To prepare pupils for life in the 21st century, our Religious Education curriculum recognises and actively promotes the British Values agenda and aims to provide distinctive and significant contributions to our pupils’ SMSC (social, moral, spiritual and cultural) development within each enquiry.
Religious Education at Stocksbridge Junior School is taught through key concepts which are revisited at regular intervals with increasing complexity. The key concepts, which underpin learning carried out in enquires, enable pupils to build upon prior learning, make connections and develop subject specific language.
RE Key Concepts:
- Understanding beliefs and teachings
- Understanding practices and lifestyles
- Understanding how beliefs are conveyed
- Understanding values and ethics
At Stocksbridge Junior School, we follow an enquiry-based approach using resources from Discovery RE to achieve the aims of the Sheffield Agreed Syllabus. Religious Education is taught weekly throughout the school year. Each year group engages with six enquires throughout the year: including the study of Christianity and one other principal world religion (Hinduism or Islam). In addition to this, opportunities to discuss and learn from other principal religions and non-religious worldviews are interweaved throughout the curriculum.
As the basis of implementation, each enquiry follows a 4-step approach centred around a key question which demands an answer derived from the weighing up of evidence. The 4-steps of our approach ensure pupils are given the opportunities to engage with a ‘bridging concept’; investigate the ‘bridging concept’ from the point of view of the chosen religion with opportunities for pupils to embed their subject knowledge and enhance their oracy and critical thinking skills; evaluate the key question in light of their new knowledge with an assessment activity and express their own reflections on the learning.
SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) development opportunities are mapped throughout each enquiry and lessons contribute to the teaching of our British Values.
Within each enquiry, our pupils are presented with a variety of learning experiences including exposure to and analysis of religious texts; opportunities to respond to art, stories, music and dance; comparison of religions and worldviews through discussion; communicating and expressing their own ideas and insights through art and design, drama and ICT; meeting visitors and visiting places of worship (including virtual visits). Interwoven throughout each lesson are assessment opportunities which offer support and challenge to ensure pupil progression for all.
At Stocksbridge Junior School, we believe our curriculum will develop children’s critical thinking skills, increase their motivation to learn and enhance their knowledge and understanding of, and empathy with people and their beliefs, religious or otherwise.
We see our Religious Education curriculum impacting the pupils by developing their skills in the following ways:
- An extended knowledge and understanding of religions and world views;
- Use of a developed range of subject specific vocabulary;
- Showing curiosity and asking increasingly challenging questions about religion, belief, values and human life;
- Express their own ideas in response to the material they engage with identifying relevant information, selecting examples and giving reasons to support these views and ideas.
We endeavor to ensure that through quality-first teaching, insightful assessments and carefully designed support, the sequence of learning in Religious Education has a great impact on pupils so that they are able make progress throughout the Key Stage, leaving school equipped with the building blocks which will enable them to succeed in the next stages of their education and empower them to flourish within their communities and as citizens in a diverse society.
The Agreed Syllabus for 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 which:
- Promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
- Prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.”
And: “All state schools… must teach religious education to pupils at every key stage… All schools must publish their curriculum by subject and academic year online” (DfE National Curriculum Framework, July 2013, page 4).