Our approach to the teaching of RE
RE gives children and young people the opportunity to learn about and learn from those aspects of religion and human experience that give rise to ‘big’ questions such as ‘What is the meaning of life?’ and ‘Is death the end?’ Religious Education also provides an opportunity for children and young people to understand each other’s beliefs, practices and ways of life, making a vital contribution to promoting community cohesion and the spiritual development of children and young people.
We follow Southampton’s Locally Agreed Syllabus as this reflects that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, whilst taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions presented in Great Britain. This agreed syllabus expects schools as a minimum to provide opportunities for pupils to be taught about Christianity and the five recognised world faiths and also explore the secular world view. We support this inclusive approach.
While knowledge, skills and understanding are central to Religious Education, it is also vital that the subject encourages pupils to develop positive attitudes to their learning and to the beliefs and values of themselves and others. They should be offered opportunities to undertake critical enquiry and to engage empathetically with individuals and communities representing a wide range of different beliefs and viewpoints. So our overarching approach in Religious Education is to develop these skills of enquiry – of encouraging pupils to ask and to be supported towards discovering a range of answers and responses to these questions. We want to promote learning based upon enquiry and exploration.
We train and equip class teachers to study the religions through visits, guest speakers and use of artefacts and observation of places of worship. Inclusive language (“We believe….”) is avoided in favour of a more open approach e.g. ‘Christians believe’ or ‘Some people believe’. We encourage staff to adopt cross curricular links; in particular links will be made with literacy, music, drama, art, PSHCE and ICT.
We implement the Agreed Syllabus requiring 5% of curriculum time being devoted to Religious Education. In Key Stage 1 this is 36 hours per year or 1 hour a week and in Key Stage 2, 45 hours per year or approximately 1.25 hours per week.