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RE at Firs

Ready For Learning and Ready For Life.

Firs Primary School is committed to ensuring all children are able to access a knowledge-rich, broad and balanced curriculum with teaching and learning being at the heart of the delivery of the curriculum. It aims to be bold, free thinking and rigorous; underpinned by a commitment to the school values, ensuring equity, learner empowerment and encouraging social mobility.  An essential element of our knowledge rich curriculum is the development of a broad and rich vocabulary, and the ambitious and explicit teaching of this.  A renewed focus on speech and Religious Education is a key driver of the revised curriculum and this is supported by the Voice21 scheme to develop Oracy in the classroom.

Religious Education

Live Children will have the knowledge and understanding to go into the next stage of life appreciating that we must value one another.

Love:  Children will develop a love and passion of their faith, with an understanding and respect for one another.

Learn: Children will ask questions and understand the importance of their faith, as well as respecting other beliefs, values and opinions; and living amongst people of different faiths.

Aims of the Religious Education curriculum:

RE makes a valuable contribution to pupils’ personal development and to their understanding of the wider world. Our belief is that, using an enquiry-based model 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. RE does not try to persuade but rather to inform and develop the skills with which evaluation can take place.

Progression in the Religious Education curriculum:

The school follows a curriculum created by ‘Discovery RE.’- this scheme of work ensures that we are teaching about a multitude of religions that are revisited throughout the Key Stages to enable a progression of learning across the school.

In Early Years the children spend time exploring the religions of Christianity and Judaism in the first two terms. The children think about the celebrated festivals in the Christian calendar, linking this to the celebrations in Judaism. The final term brings this together with exploring special stories and places of a multitude of religions.

Key Stage 1 builds upon this teaching as the children look in more depth at what Christians believe - the children take time to ask ‘Big Questions’ and make connections across religions. The children also learn about Judaism in Year One and are introduced to Islam in Year Two.

Key Stage Two builds upon the learning of Christianity, Sikhism, Judaism and Islam with the addition of Hinduism in Year Three. The children are encouraged to think critically and ask questions of a religion as each half term focuses on a ‘Big Question’.

These religious topics have been chosen specifically from the ‘Discovery RE’ scheme to support and make links with our knowledge rich curriculum.

Explicit knowledge in the Religious Education curriculum:

Discovery RE focuses on critical thinking skills, on personal reflection into the child’s own thoughts and feelings, on growing subject knowledge and nurturing spiritual development.  By the end of:

Key Stage 1:

  • Recall and name different beliefs and practises.
  • Retell and suggest meanings to some religious and moral stories.
  • Recognise different symbols and actions linked with religious communities.
  • Ask and respond to questions.
  • Observe and recount different ways of expressing identity and belonging.
  • Notice and respond sensitively to similarities between religions and worldviews.
  • Explore questions about belonging, meaning and truth.
  • Find out about examples of cooperation between people who are different.
  • Find out about questions of right and wrong.

End of Key Stage 2:

  • Describe and make connections about different religions and worldviews.
  • Describe and understand links between stories and other aspects of different communities.
  • Explore different beliefs, symbols and actions.
  • Observe and understand varied examples of religions and worldviews.
  • Understand challenges of commitment to a community of faith.
  • Spot similarities and differences.
  • Discuss and present thoughtfully their own views.
  • Consider how diverse communities can live together.
  • Research and answer ethical questions.

Curriculum organisation of the Religious Education curriculum:

RE is taught once a week (an hour) and every unit (enquiry) is based around a key question. The key question for the enquiry is such that it demands an answer that weighs up ‘evidence’ (subject knowledge) and reaches a conclusion based on this.

Reading, writing and talking in the Religious Education curriculum:

Each unit expose children to a wide range of ambitious, subject-specific vocabulary. Vocabulary is introduced, revisited and reinforced over time, so that children become confident and articulate as they progress throughout the curriculum. A set of display words and a knowledge organiser glossary are included with each unit of work to make it easy for children to use new words independently.

Through assessment descriptors children are encouraged to use speaking listening and writing skills to explore and share their outcomes.  Role play scenarios encourage children to further develop their confidence in front of their peers and use of language.

Delivery of the Religious Education curriculum:

At Firs our vision for Teaching and Learning is rooted in high expectations and an unconditional belief that every child can achieve and succeed according to their unique abilities. We believe in challenge, engagement and deep learning (mastery). This is promoted through careful curriculum planning, modelled examples of practice and the use of responsive teaching through planned and purposeful checking for understanding. A positive and stimulating learning environment ensure behaviour for learning is central to our vision, as we strive for a warm and productive classroom climate. We carefully plan assessment to ensure we develop retrieval and schema to build on learning and make connections between subjects.  Finally, we explicitly plan for the delivery of Reading, Talking and Vocabulary in all subjects and this underpins our approach to teaching and learning at Firs.

Firs Foundation of Effective Practice ensures we have a whole school approach to delivering our curriculum vision.  The six Foundations provide staff with a learning model to ensure we deliver lessons based on research evidence, the six Foundations we model our Teaching and Learning on:

Foundation 1: Culture and Climate.

Foundation 2: Checking For Understanding.

Foundation 3: Explaining and Modelling.

Foundation 4: Reading, Talking and Vocabulary.

Foundation 5: Curriculum Planning.

Foundation 6: Retrieval and Schema building. 

In summary the impact of a powerful knowledge Religious Education curriculum at Firs will have the following features:

  • Subject driven.
  • Knowledge-rich.
  • Children able to explore and explain beliefs and theological concepts
  • Children can understand the significance and impact of beliefs and practices on individuals, communities and societies connect these together into a coherent framework of beliefs and practices gain and deploy deepening understanding of specialist vocabulary and terms;
  • know and understand about religious diversity within the region, as well as nationally and globally;
  • know and understand how religion can be defined and what is meant by the term “religious and non-religious worldviews” and with increasing clarity know that these worldviews are complex, diverse and plural;
  • gain and deploy skills that enable critical thinking and enquiry in relation to the material they study;
  • reflect on their own thoughts, feelings, experiences, ideas, values and beliefs with increasing discernment;
  • Ensure children are Ready For Learning and Ready For Life.