At Spring Gardens, Religious Education is recognised as a crucial and fascinating subject that provides a safe environment and shared language of understanding for children to question, to contemplate and to consider a range of different values and faiths.
The many and varied beliefs that exist in our communities require children to have a deeper knowledge and understanding, as well as tolerance, of those of other beliefs or those with no beliefs. We aim to challenge children to learn from the experiences of people from different religions and develop their own sense of identity. Also, we strive to provide pupils with the tools needed to consider their own beliefs, where they came from and how they will help them to prepare for the uncertainties of adult life.
By following the North Tyneside Agreed Syllabus, we will enhance the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all children, offering strong continuity and progression within and between key stages. Thus, providing a vehicle for the promotion of tolerance and understanding within our community.
Religious Education Curriculum Overview 2021-2022
Agreed Syllabus for RE in North Tyneside
The North Tyneside Agreed Syllabus reflects the fact that the religious traditions in Great Britain are in the main Christian, whilst taking account of the teachings and practices of other principal religions represented in our country.
In Key Stages 1 and 2, teachers often block units of work and begin with a main key question. Subsequent lessons are guided by a key question or focus.
The content of each lesson is devised according to:
- Three interlinked elements: Knowledge & Understanding, Critical Thinking and Personal Reflection
- Four concepts: Belief, Authority, Expressions of Belief and Impact of Belief
- Skills in Religious Education that support the three elements.
The skills focus for each unit of work are:
* asking relevant questions
* ascertaining facts
* drawing meaning from artefacts
* suggesting meaning of religious texts
* identifying key religious values - Knowledge and Understanding
* gaining an informed opinion and expressing a personal viewpoint
* distinguishing between the features of different religions - Critical Thinking
* developing a personal interest and curiosity in puzzling, searching and challenging questions
* considering the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values of others and seeing the world through the eyes of others
* issues arising from their point of view - Personal Reflection
Children’s progress in RE is assessed using the Benchmark Expectations for Knowledge & Understanding and Critical Thinking, but not Personal Reflection. This is introspective, subjective and private. Expectations begin simply and become deeper, more complex and more comprehensive as children gain in experience and knowledge. Much of what the children know and think is expressed verbally. Teachers are aware of this when making judgements.
Key Stage 1 are currently piloting an Evidence Folder, rather than individual books, as a record of children’s work and achievements. The intention is to help teachers plan creatively and alleviate the pressure of having a piece of work by the end of each lesson.
In Key Stage 2 children begin a book in Year 3 and this follows them through school to the end of Key Stage 2. It provides the children with the enjoyable experience of looking back on their work and clearly seeing how they have progressed, nurturing their sense of pride and achievement.
The Early Years Foundation Stage framework at Spring Gardens is very individual and tailored to the specific needs of the young children who attend our school. Early Years adopt a cross-curricular approach.
In Nursery, RE is taught under the heading ‘Understanding of the World’ and children learn to enact or describe aspects of cultural celebrations in very simple terms, using appropriate vocabulary. Families are regularly invited to share their customs with the nursery children.
In Reception, ‘Understanding of the World’ ELG’s are more specific and children learn about some similarities and differences between religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their experience and what has been read in class.
Children have the opportunity to visit places of worship within the local community which give children a rich and real experience that ignites their awe and wonder of the world around them. Where possible, we invite people with beliefs into school to share their knowledge and practices. This further provides the children with a wider understanding of who walks amongst them in the wider world.
Due to the pandemic, the launch of the 2020 Agreed Syllabus was delayed and did not take place until June 2021. During the unsettling period, PSHE took priority within Spring Gardens and class timetables reflected this, leaving little room for the teaching of RE. As we move forward into the academic year of 2021-2022, this lapse is being addressed and RE is once again holding its status.
By following a structured RE Programme of Study, which builds upon skills, children at Spring Gardens develop a positive understanding of the many differences and similarities they share with others.
Children are intrigued and curious about the views, practices and beliefs of other people through creative planning and teaching which engages them and motivates them to want to learn more.
Pupil voice shows that children enjoy RE. They can recall stories or specific aspects of religions and, most importantly, they are aware that their learning will support them as they grow up and venture into different communities.
Planning and book looks show that the teaching of RE is approached in a variety of ways with the aim to engage and meet the needs of all learners.
Children are encouraged to form opinions, support their ideas with reason, consider alternative arguments and develop the ability to articulate their own views and opinions.
These skills are essential for the experiences life will offer, both in and out of school. They will leave Spring Gardens with a moral compass, an appreciation of the world and those who live within it (including themselves) and a respectful and open-minded attitude.