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Religious Education at The White House School

This document should be read alongside the school British Values Policy

 

The importance of religious education in the curriculum

 

Religious education provokes challenging questions about the meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human. RE offers children opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual development. It considers the influence of religion on individuals, families, communities and cultures.

 

We aim to develop children’s knowledge and understanding of Christianity (which is taught throughout each key stage) and other principal world religions.

 

Children both learn ABOUT religion and learn FROM religion. When learning about religion children learn about different beliefs and teachings, practices and ways of life and how religions express themselves in different ways. When learning from religion children reflect on and consider important questions of identity and belonging (e.g. who and what matters to me?) questions of meaning and values and commitments (e.g. who and what do I value?)

 

Key Skills in RE

 

We seek to develop children’s skills in investigation/enquiry, communication, interpretation, analysis and evaluation. These are important skills for children to develop. These include:

  • Investigation/enquiry (finding out what people believe, how their beliefs affect the way they live and the different ways people express their beliefs).
  • Communication (sharing their ideas and those within religions and beliefs in a lively, informed way including different styles of writing, oral contributions and the use of ICT).
  • Interpretation (recognising and talking about religious symbols, stories and sacred texts
  • Analysis and evaluation (developing their own views & ideas and recognising the views of others).

 

Key Attitudes in RE

 

Through RE we seek to promote attitudes such as self-esteem (so that every child feels valued and significant), respect (including being sensitive to the beliefs, feelings and values of others), open-mindedness (being willing to learn and gain new understanding) and appreciation and wonder (developing children’s imagination and curiosity).

 

Expectation in RE

 

By the end of Key Stage 1 it is expected that most children will be able to use religious words to identify some features of religion and its importance for some people. They will show awareness of similarities in religions and can identify how religion is expressed in different ways. They will ask and respond sensitively to questions about their own and others experiences and feelings. They will recognise their own values and those of others and will become aware that some questions cause people to wonder and are difficult to answer.

 

By the end of Key Stage 2 it is expected that most children will be able to describe both similarities and differences within and between religions. They will make links between different aspects of religions and will be able to describe the impact of religion on peoples’ lives. They will suggest answers to questions of identity and meaning. They will apply their ideas to their own and those of others. They will also be able to describe what inspires and influences themselves and others.

 

Approaches to teaching and learning in RE

 

At The White House School we employ a variety of teaching methods. These include:-

  • Visiting local places of worship and receiving visitors from faith communities
  • Using art, music, dance and drama
  • Children experiencing times of quiet reflection to develop their own thoughts and ideas
  • Using story, pictures and photographs
  • Using artefacts to help children develop their understanding of religious beliefs and forms of expression
  • Discussing religious and philosophical questions giving reasons for their own beliefs and those of others
  • Developing the use of ICT (particularly DVDs and the internet) in helping children’s awareness of religions and beliefs.

 

Assessment and Recording

 

In RE we provide twice yearly reports based on the assessment of children’s learning. Reports provided a brief summary of the work covered, a summary of the standards achieved and how the child can improve their learning. We also recognise that some of the most important learning in RE (e.g. how RE contributes to spiritual development) cannot be formally assessed.

 

Rights of withdrawal

 

We believe that RE is an important subject in children’s learning. We recognise, however, the legal right of parents to withdraw their children from all or any part of RE on the grounds of conscience. We encourage parents to contact the Headteacher if they have any concerns about RE provision and practice at the school.

 

The contribution of RE to the wider curriculum

 

While RE has its own distinctive subject matter it does make an important contribution to other aspects of children’s learning:

 

RE contributes to children’s spiritual development by:-

  • Discussing and reflecting on questions of meaning and truth such as the origins of the universe, good and evil, life after death, beliefs about God and humanity and values such as justice, honesty and truth.
  • Learning about and reflecting on important concepts and experiences such as love, trust, forgiveness, obedience and sacrifice.
  • Valuing relationships and developing a sense of belonging.
  • Considering how religions and beliefs regard the value and purpose of human beings, the importance of the environment and the significance of emotions such as love, anger, joy, jealousy, happiness and pain.

 

RE contributes to children’s moral development by:-

  • Enabling children to value themselves and others.
  • Exploring the influence of family, friends and other sources on moral choices.
  • Considering what is of ultimate value both to children and within religious traditions.
  • Developing an understanding in key beliefs and teachings in religion and values and moral choices.
  • Considering ethical issues especially justice which promotes racial and religious respect.
  • Reflecting on the importance of rights and responsibilities and developing a sense of conscience.

 

RE contributes to children’s social development by:-

  • Considering how religious and other beliefs lead to particular actions and concerns.
  • Reflecting on the importance of friendship and positive relationships.

 

RE contributes to children’s cultural development by:-

  • Encountering people, stories, artefacts and resources from differing cultures.
  • Promoting respect for all, combating prejudice and discrimination.
  • Challenging stereotypes of religion and beliefs.

 

RE and the use of language

RE can also make an important contribution to children’s use of language by enabling them to:-

 

  • Acquire and develop a specialist vocabulary
  • Communicate their ideas with clarity.
  • Listen and respond to the views and ideas of others.
  • Be inspired by the power and beauty of language.
  • Write in different styles such as poetry, diaries and extended writing.

 

RE and the use of ICT

RE can make an important contribution to children’s use of ICT by:-

  • Helping them make effective use of the internet and CD ROMs to investigate and learn from different religions beliefs, teachings and ideas.
  • Use multimedia and presentation software to communicate their own ideas and those within religions and beliefs

 

Conclusion

In essence we are aiming to help our children develop respect and sensitivity for all people and to understand more about the importance of religion in today’s world.

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